20 million Yemenis need humanitarian aid

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by Katja Dombrowski

20 million Yemenis need humanitarian aid

The good news from Yemen these days is that peace talks are taking place. The warring factions are meeting in Kuwait, and observers are quite confident of a positive outcome. A truce that started on 10 April also seems to be holding – but it neither involves ISIS nor al-Qaeda extremists.

zTherefore, there still is a constant stream of bloody news from Yemen on a daily basis:

  • Thursday, 28 April: a suicide car bomb explodes outside the security chief’s home in Aden;
  • Wednesday, 27 April: 27 soldiers are killed in government offensive to recapture the city of Mukalla;
  • Tuesday, 26 April: a US drone strike kills three al-Qaeda leaders;
  • Monday, 25 April: an 18 year-old known for his criticism of Islamist extremism on social media platforms is killed in Aden;
  • Sunday, 24 April: the Saudi-led coalition kills more than 800 al-Qaeda fighters and supporters in southern Yemen;
  • Saturday, 23 April: Yemeni forces loyal to the government kill 25 al-Qaeda militants in the town of Koud in the province of Abyan.

And that’s only the past six days. Bad news involving religious minorities include the killing of nuns from  Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Aden and the exodus of the country’s last remaining Jews in March. Moreover, there are  large-scale human-rights abuses while hunger and diseases are spreading. A locust plague is destroying crops, and much of the country’s cultural heritage is ruined too.

We can only hope that the peace talks will end the war that started 13 months ago has since killed more than 6,200, wounded more than 35,000 and displaced more than 2.5 million people, according to the UN. The security and humanitarian situation continues to worsen, as the international community is helplessly watching. All the UN Security Council has done is to call on all Yemeni parties to “develop a road map for the implementation of interim security measures, especially at the local level, withdrawals, handover of heavy weapons, restoration of state institutions, and the resumption of political dialogue in line with relevant Security Council decisions, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative and Implementation Mechanism, and the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue conference.” It also expresses “strong concern” about intensified terrorist attacks.

The Security Council’s recommendations make sense. But they are not of direct help to Yemen’s distressed people. According to aid organisations, more than 20 million Yemenis urgently need humanitarian aid, including as food, water, medicine and shelter. In order to provide these things, the agencies  demand more funds from governments around the world. So far, only a small fraction of the money needed this year has been confirmed. That’s a shame. Giving money is the least we can do. 

 

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