YCHO: Statement Following NGO Workshop at Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum
Statement by YCHO Support Center Following NGO Workshop at Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum
Within the framework of the Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum held from 26-27 February 2018, the Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations (YCHO) Support Center hosted a workshop attended by numerous representatives of UN agencies and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) from the humanitarian community.
The purpose of the workshop was to both inform a wider audience of the humanitarian community about the YCHO, and to enhance communication and cooperation with the UN agencies and INGOs working in Yemen. The workshop addressed the alternative routes developed for increased humanitarian access to Yemen, including the opening of the air bridge linking Riyadh to Ma'rib, Yemen, and the land crossings at AlKhadra and Al Tuwal, recently opened for fast delivery of essential aid to remote governorates in the northernmost part of Yemen that are in especially acute need. All of these entry points are now freely available to the international aid community for the transportation of humanitarian aid.
During the workshop, the participants discussed the Saudi-led Coalition's $1.5 billion donation to UN organizations in furtherance of the UN Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan 2018, as well as the $2 billion deposit to the Central Bank of Yemen from Saudi Arabia to stabilize the Yemeni currency and economy. This assistance to the Yemeni people is not only helping to mitigate the deleterious effects of the current crisis on public institutions and services. These financial contributions provide Yemen with foreign reserves to increase the purchasing power of the people of Yemen and stabilize the currency rate to help businesses conduct their import transactions at reduced levels of inflation. Finally, the central bank deposit will reduce the reliance on direct humanitarian aid among Yemen's population.
Participants also discussed a continuing objective of the YCHO: to increase the volume of commercial imports to at least 1.4 million metric tons a month, and the total number of access and entry points to 22 in and around Yemen for the delivery of humanitarian relief and commercial goods. In fulfilling this goal, the Saudi-led Coalition has opened two land crossings, at AlKhadra and Al Tuwal. In January, the Coalition established an air bridge between Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Ma'rib, Yemen, hosting 20 flights to date carrying food, shelter and medical aid to be distributed inside the republic. In addition, the AlWadea land crossing remains open for the import of both humanitarian and commercial goods to Yemen. Following successful installation of 4 cranes to the port of Hodeidah last month, imports of humanitarian and commercial goods to that entry point are flowing freely.
The Coalition has worked closely with the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM) to smooth maritime shipping, both commercial and humanitarian. In the aftermath of the 4 November ballistic missile attack on Riyadh, several steps and measures were taken to enhance the UNVIM mandate. The US, UK and other donors have contributed to increasing the number of monitors and inspectors in Djibouti and to the deployment of monitors at regional transshipment points. Contributions have prioritized the introduction of new inspection equipment and technology to UNVIM, as well as the allocation of a new inspection yard to the port of Djibouti to ensure the efficiency of the inspection regime without delaying deliveries of commercial cargo.
The YCHO Support Center acknowledges the difficulties of non-governmental organizations operating in war zones and understands the risks they face in carrying out their mission in Yemen. At the same time, the YCHO Support Center reminds the international community that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has suffered from continuous ballistic missile attacks by the Iran-backed Houthi militias, amounting to 95 in total, including the one on 4 November targeting the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and over 400 mortar attacks launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militias from Yemeni territory under their control.
Under the YCHO, aid has reached 863,000 beneficiaries in Yemen. Today, with the launch of an additional 50 trucks of aid from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Centre, hauling 926 metric tons of food and medical supplies to different Yemeni districts, the total number of beneficiaries of aid delivered under the YCHO will soon surpass one million.
The YCHO plan encompasses health sector support agreements to treat and rehabilitate Yemenis affected by the current conflict. Thus far, the YCHO has secured agreements for 6 projects, including 5 for the treatment of wounded Yemenis in partnership with private-sector hospitals and medical centers, and support for phases 3 and 4 of the Child Soldier Rehabilitation Project. Rehabilitation for these phases of the project will directly and indirectly benefit a total of 2,000 children and their family members.
Also under the YCHO, a number of agreements have been signed to rehabilitate port and road infrastructure, including for a project to reconstruct a road linking Aden to Sana'a and other cities in Yemen's interior. This will improve the transportation network between Yemeni governorates, reduce transportation costs, and offer thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities to the Yemeni people. Long-term development will remain a key component of the YCHO plan.
The YCHO Support Center reiterates that it will continue to undertake its obligations to assist the humanitarian work of all NGOs working to help the Yemeni people in all governorates of Yemen, without exception or discrimination.