Yemen: the looming threat of mass starvation and disease

More than 22.2 million Yemenis, 75% of the population, are now in need of some form of humanitarian aid or protection. 11.3 million people need immediate humanitarian assistance to survive. The current violence in Yemen will have dire political, economic and social implications far beyond the end of the war itself. The NGO-community in Yemen, including ZOA, calls upon the international community to actively support a political solution to the conflict in Yemen.

The scale of food insecurity in Yemen will remain intractable without very swift and deliberate actions to reduce inflation and revive the economy. Urgent steps must be taken by the international community to address underlying causes of imminent famine. Parties to the conflict have a responsibility to ensure that civilians are protected and allowed safe passage away from areas affected by violence.

All ports have to remain open
Civilians in and around Hodeidah, as across all conflict-affected locations, must be protected from the direct and indirect impact of the fighting. It is also of vital importance that all ports in Yemen remain fully opened and fully functioning to allow the flow of humanitarian and commercial supplies.

A political solution is crucial. Humanitarian aid is not enough to stave off the looming threat of mass starvation and disease.

Hodeida port has historically handled more than 70% of all imports into Yemen. Any direct attack, obstruction or policy shift that further incapacitates the port will push even more people into hunger, disease and preventable death.

Security Council members should take responsibility
Yemeni people must be allowed safe, unhindered access to humanitarian aid and humanitarian actors allowed safe, unimpeded access to Yemenis in need of assistance. Aid workers must be afforded protection in accordance with international humanitarian law, and properly resourced to enable aid to move as swiftly and effectively as possible. Meanwhile, the international community should seek a political solution to the conflict. A political process does not rest on the UN or conflict parties alone, it is the responsibility of every Security Council member and all with a role in this conflict to create suitable conditions for lasting peace.