Yemen is currently facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The conflict, which has lasted for more than seven years, has destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure. More than two-thirds of the population, or around 23 million people, are dependent on humanitarian assistance and protection. Millions of people are malnourished, underdeveloped and traumatised by bombings and the death of family members. Over the past year, there has been a significant increase in fighting, and the war has spread to other parts of the country. Last year in particular, intensive fighting in Marib governorate and neighbouring governorates has driven thousands from their homes – for many of these people, this was not the first time they were forced to flee.
Since the beginning of this year, there has also been heavy fighting in Hajjah governorate in the north-west of the country. In the south, too, the situation may escalate further. The entire country is on the brink of economic collapse, with a currency that is in decline and hyperinflation. The situation has been further exacerbated by the COVID‑19 pandemic and outbreaks of cholera and polio, as well as by natural disasters, including plagues of locusts and flooding.
International aid efforts are not supplying enough life-saving goods to people in the country. For, despite committed efforts by some donors, there has recently been a decline in pledges from the donor community at large. There continues to be a lack of funding to supply sufficient life-saving emergency aid to millions of people in Yemen. Last year, humanitarian aid organisations had only 60% of the funding they require. Due to large shortfalls and underfinancing, many UN programmes already had to be scaled back significantly in early 2022.
Pledging conference for urgently needed assistance
In view of the dramatic situation, the annual pledging conference for Yemen is being held today (16 March) at the invitation of the United Nations, Sweden and Switzerland. The conference aims to raise funds for overcoming the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, so that the various UN organisations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs can operate their aid programmes in the country. The United Nations estimates that, in 2022, 4.27 billion US dollars will be needed to provide basic supplies to the people of Yemen.
Germany is one of the biggest donors to Yemen. Minister of State Lindner today pledged a total of 110 million euro in support of the aid efforts. The funds are being provided partly by the Federal Foreign Office as humanitarian assistance and partly by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development as transitional development assistance.
Germany is also doing more than making available substantial funding. It is campaigning to convince other potential donors to make additional pledges and disburse the respective funds in short order. The entire international community has a responsibility to come to the aid of people in Yemen, and countries in the region have a particular responsibility in this regard.
No end in sight to the humanitarian crisis if the conflict is not resolved
The ongoing armed conflict remains the root cause of the humanitarian crisis. There is a direct link between hunger and war: the regions that are seeing most of the fighting are also the ones in which people are most strongly affected by displacement, price increases, economic hardship and insufficient medical care.
That is why Germany’s foreign policy efforts will continue to focus on achieving an immediate and lasting ceasefire and a return to the political process facilitated by Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen. The German Government is supporting UN efforts to achieve a political resolution to the conflict – through Germany’s diplomatic activities, by providing funding and by engaging in mediation to complement the work of the Special Envoy.
As the largest contributor to, and co-initiator of, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Peace Support Facility for Yemen, the German Government promotes confidence-building measures between the parties to the conflict. In addition, Germany is participating in efforts to find a solution for FSO SAFER, the deteriorating floating oil storage and offloading vessel that could cause a massive oil spill off the western coast of Yemen. A replacement vessel for the current unit that has fallen into disrepair would significantly help prevent further disaster, as well as help keep open humanitarian access from the sea, especially via Hodeidah Port. Last but not least, the German Government is actively encouraging regional donors to contribute substantially to the respective efforts.