The impending famine looks set to affect some 14 million Yemenites. As so often in such cases, children would bear the brunt of the suffering. At a UN Security Council meeting in New York earlier this week, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock described the imminent famine as “much bigger than anything any professional in this field has seen during their working lives”.
What is Germany doing?
In this year alone, Germany has so far provided 100 million euros for humanitarian aid in Yemen. Our partners in the World Food Programme (WFP) and such NGOs as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Doctors of the World, Oxfam and Save the Children are using these funds to supply urgently needed food and drinking water. Care is going to malnourished and undernourished children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, particularly in regions where internally displaced people are seeking shelter.
The German Government is also working to ensure that people have unrestricted access to aid. The conflict parties need to do all they can to foreground protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.
Political solutions urgently needed
Germany is working to see a political solution to the conflict. This includes supporting the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. The Geneva negotiations between the conflict parties that broke down in September 2018 must be resumed to give the 29 million people of Yemen a hope of peace.
The German Government is also cooperating with the Berghof Foundation and other partners to support various dialogue and mediation processes that seek the greatest possible involvement of all conflict parties and sections of the population. Only an inclusive peace process will have a chance of sustainably calming the situation and consequently stabilising Yemen.
Situation already extreme
There are already 22 million people dependent on humanitarian assistance. Some 2.3 million within Yemen are internally displaced. Food and basic healthcare are in short supply. Half of all the children there are chronically malnourished, and a lack of access to clean drinking water has led to Yemen suffering the worst cholera epidemic in the world. The port city of Hodeida, where aid supplies and most food imports enter the country, has long been beset by heavy fighting. Attacks on aid agencies, civilians and civilian infrastructure and hindrances to humanitarian access are part of everyday life.