UN Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick - photo credit UNDP
CAIRO – 20 August 2017: The United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator, Jaime McGoldrick, accused on Saturday Houthis and pro-Saleh militias of derailing relief work in Yemen in the areas they are still controlling, according to the Saudi Press Agency, SPA.
McGoldrick’s statement came during a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the situation in Yemen, where he said that, “for months, humanitarian agencies have had to put up with delays on the part of Houthis in facilitating the entry of humanitarian aid workers into Yemen, leading to serious hurdles in the delivery of assistance and the hijacking of aid vehicles,” according to SPA.
Furthermore, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to Yemen, Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed, addressed the members of the UN Security Council saying, “Death looms for Yemenis by air, land and sea.”
Ahmad called on the Security Council to push for a political solution to the conflict and warned that the suffering in Yemen could take a turn for the worse. He warned also of the spreading diseases and epidemics in Yemen, “Those who survived cholera will continue to suffer the consequences of ‘political cholera’ that infects Yemen and continues to obstruct the road towards peace.”
The UN secretary general special envoy to Yemen explained that some parties to the conflict are taking advantage of the internal divisions in Yemen for their personal interests and turning their backs to the international community’s efforts to support a peaceful solution in the country. Ahmad said, “What is missing at this point is for the parties to the conflict, without any delays, excuses or procrastination, to demonstrate their intention to end the war and put the national interest above any personal gains.”
During the same meeting, the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien compared the situation in Yemen before and after the conflict by highlighting different signs of progress including food security, health and education.
O’Brien said that “17 million Yemenis are hungry, nearly seven million are facing famine, and about 16 million lack access to water or sanitation”. He explained that Yemen is facing several key challenges, including a funding shortage, as the UN has received only 39 percent of the required funds to respond to the current humanitarian needs in the country. Furthermore, he noted that 1.2 million public employees in Yemen have not been paid regularly for months, which might lead to the collapse of basic services in the country.
O’Brien, urged the international community to ensure that all ports in Yemen are open to civilians, besides commercial traffic. He called on all individuals with influence in Yemen to prevail on the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian and human rights law and to strengthen accountability.
Since 2015, more than 7,600 people were killed, 42,000 injured and more than 70 percent of the population in Yemen is in need of aid, according to BBC news. The devastating humanitarian situation in the country was triggered by terrorist actions of militias allied to Al-Houthi and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who are trying to take over the country.