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Yemen: EU allocates additional €119 million for humanitarian crisis

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The Commission has announced an additional €119 million in humanitarian and development aid to alleviate vulnerable Yemenis' suffering from over 6 years of conflict. Yemen is the country with the world's largest humanitarian crisis, with close to 70% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. The crisis has also set back human development in the country by more than 20 years, impacting national institutions, public services and infrastructure. The funding announced today on the side-lines of United Nations General Assembly brings EU support to Yemen to €209 million in 2021.

Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: "Humanitarian needs in Yemen are unprecedented and rising, while the response is only half-funded. Thousands are starving, and millions more are on the verge of famine. The EU is committed to continuing its assistance to Yemen. We call on the parties to the conflict to grant unrestricted humanitarian access and allow the flow of basic commodities such as food and fuel. The EU supports the UN-led political process. Only peace can bring Yemenis' suffering to an end.”

International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen said: “Human suffering and the looming famine in Yemen must be stopped.  We are using all instruments at our disposal and todays' strengthened development funding, as part of the EU pledge, will address the economic drivers that fuel the increasing humanitarian needs on the ground. The EU's strong signal to other donors is that Yemen's developmental gains for post-conflict recovery must be preserved. This will help vulnerable families put food on the table and access vital services across Yemen. Our support will put a strong emphasis on women economic empowerment, as their contribution is key in building the future of the country.”

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  • Humanitarian funding announced amounts to €44m. It will support displaced populations as well as vulnerable communities affected by food insecurity, poor nutrition and other health crises. EU funding will help to deliver food as well as financial assistance, and provide healthcare, protection and nutrition assistance to those affected.
  • The rest of EU pledge, €75m in development funding will improve the resilience of conflict-affected populations, by helping to reduce the negative effects of the deteriorating economic situation on rising humanitarian needs. EU funding will help local authorities to deliver and sustain basic services – including health, education, water and energy supply from sustainable sources. It will help generate income for vulnerable households by providing them with livelihoods opportunities in the cultural heritage preservation sector and supporting private entrepreneurship. Yemeni youth and women will be at the forefront of this approach, as crucial contributors to the design of an economic base that could underpin post-conflict economic development.

Background

The humanitarian needs in Yemen have reached an unprecedented scale. The socio-economic situation and the coronavirus pandemic are making matters even worse. The deteriorating economic situation across Yemen continues to eradicate people's livelihoods, reducing their ability to afford food and basic commodities, further driving up the scale of humanitarian needs.  

Conflict across Yemen continues to endanger civilians, trigger displacement and damage infrastructure such as hospitals and schools. Imports of food, fuel and medicines are restricted, leading to shortages and high prices while humanitarian and development aid continues to face serious impediments.

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The continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched health services to the limit and restricted access to the markets. For the first time in two years, pockets of famine-like conditions have been identified in Yemen, and the number of people exposed to starvation reached almost 50,000 people. An estimated 16.2 million people face severe food insecurity.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the EU's humanitarian partner organisations have put in place infection, prevention and control measures to avoid propagation. This includes increased awareness and the piloting of a community shielding approach to protect those most vulnerable to severe infection among displaced populations.

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Humanitarian aid in Yemen

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Yemen: €95 million in EU humanitarian aid for people threatened by conflict and famine

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The European Commission is allocating €95 million in humanitarian support to address the most pressing needs of people in Yemen amid record highs of child malnutrition, an imminent threat of famine and renewed fighting. More than 2 million children as well as over 1 million pregnant women and mothers are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021, while escalating hostilities are forcing thousands of families to leave their households.

The new funding was announced by the Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, at the high-level pledging event for Yemen on 1 March co-hosted by the United Nations, Sweden and Switzerland. Commissioner Lenarčič said: "The EU does not forget the dire situation of people in Yemen who are once again on the brink of famine after bearing the brunt of the world's worst humanitarian crisis. New EU funding will be essential in maintaining life-saving aid for millions of people, exhausted  after a disastrous year marked by fighting, COVID-19 and further economic collapse. Parties to the conflict need to facilitate the access of humanitarian organisations to those most in need and avoid further civilian suffering. Now more than ever it is crucial that International Humanitarian Law and unrestricted access to those in need are upheld.”

In 2021, EU humanitarian aid will continue to provide food, nutrition and healthcare, financial assistance, water and sanitation, education and other lifesaving support to the conflict-displaced and those in severe need. The press release is available online.

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EU concerned that US decision to brand Houthis as terrorists will hinder aid to famine struck Yemen

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The European External Action Service (EEAS) has issued a statement today (12 January) expressing their concern on the decision by the US to designate the ‘Ansar Allah’ group, known as the Houthis, as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO); US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also listed three of the groups leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).

The decision of the outgoing administration has received widespread condemnation. The EEAS spokesperson said that the move risks rendering UN-led efforts to reach a comprehensive solution to the Yemen conflict more difficult: “It will complicate the necessary diplomatic engagement with Ansar Allah and the work of the international community on political, humanitarian and developmental matters.”

The EU is particularly concerned about the impact of this decision on the humanitarian situation in Yemen, currently facing an imminent risk of widespread famine. The designation is likely to have disruptive effects on the delivery of humanitarian aid funded by the international community and further aggravate the economic crisis which has resulted from over five years of conflict.

The EU remains convinced that only an inclusive political solution can end the conflict in Yemen and will continue to promote dialogue among all parties. In coordination with the international community, the EU stands ready to support efforts that mitigate the impact of the designation on the delivery of aid and on the economy, with a particular attention to the functionality of the private sector.

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#Coronavirus global response: #EUHumanitarianAirBridge and €70 million in additional aid for #Yemen

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A new EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight has departed from Liège, Belgium, with medical and other essential supplies to reinforce the humanitarian response in Yemen. In total, over 220 tonnes of critical items are being delivered to the most vulnerable Yemenis. It has been facilitated by the collaborative efforts of Sweden and the EU.

This EU Humanitarian Air Bridge makes up for logistical challenges and restrictions in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, since the usual supply lines have been seriously affected. In addition, the EU is allocating an additional €70 million to scale up assistance across Yemen, bringing its humanitarian support in 2020 to €115 million.

Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: "This EU Air Bridge operation to Yemen is the largest of its kind since our flights to countries affected by the Coronavirus. The EU operation and additional funding show the urgency of helping the people of Yemen in their hour of need. The rapid spread of the Coronavirus in a country that is already dealing with the world's worst humanitarian crisis, is adding another layer of suffering. Aid must get through today, not tomorrow. I urge all parties to the conflict to abide by their international obligation to grant unhindered access to impartial humanitarian aid organisations so they can help the people of Yemen.”

The EU's Humanitarian Air Bridge to Yemen will transport urgent humanitarian cargo to both Aden and Sana'a and will run until early August. The supplies will benefit the Coronavirus response but also enable the continuation of other lifesaving humanitarian programmes by UN agencies, international non-governmental organizations and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.

EU-funded humanitarian actions in Yemen focus on emergency support to civilians affected by the conflict, including the response to acute malnutrition, food insecurity, natural disasters and epidemics.

Background

The co-operation of all parties with the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies is crucial. Five years into the conflict, Yemen's crisis has hit rock bottom. At the start of 2020, 80 per cent of the population needed some form of humanitarian aid and protection. Decreased funding and increased access restrictions are now resulting in even higher levels of hardship and vulnerability. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic in a country with collapsing health services and an economy in deep crisis, could give rise to famine.

Since the beginning of the conflict in 2015, the European Union has allocated €896 million to respond to the crisis in Yemen, including €554m in humanitarian aid and €318m in development assistance.

This has made it possible to deliver vital assistance including food, healthcare, education as well as water, shelter and hygiene kits. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, preparedness and response to disease outbreaks was already a key focus of the EU's strategy for Yemen. To address the cholera and coronavirus epidemics, the EU funds treatment centres and prevention activities.

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EU Humanitarian Air Bridge

EU humanitarian aid operations to Yemen

 

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