First Published: 2013-01-22

 

Aids groups seek $716 million to battle humanitarian crisis in Yemen

 

UN Development Programme representative in Yemen warns humanitarian crisis can jeapordise entire political process.

 

Middle East Online

By Lynne Nahhas – DUBAI

10.5 million people in Yemen are food-insecure

Yemen needs $716 million in aid this year, or 22 percent more than 2012's requirements, UN agencies said on Tuesday, after improved security enabled a reassessment of the humanitarian situation.

"We are hoping that we will be able to raise the whole amount so that we can comprehensively meet the needs and save lives," said the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen, Trond Jensen.

"The humanitarian situation in Yemen is urgent and people's lives are at stake," he said in Dubai, warning of high malnutrition rates.

Jensen said the United Nations hoped that through "traditional donors, Yemeni partners, and partners in the region we will be able to raise the entire amount".

Last year, $329 million was raised from the $585 million that was needed.

But this year, the increase in "stability in some areas -- the south and north... has enabled reassessments," said Jensen.

"We found there are more people food-insecure than we thought, and we also found that more people are in need of nutrition support than we previously thought.

"There have been positive developments but the humanitarian situation has not changed," he added.

Yemen was rocked in 2011 by an uprising that left the already impoverished country's economy in tatters and weakened the government's control over several areas, especially across the south and east.

The country is now undergoing a transition period led by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.

But the UN Development Programme representative in Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, warned that the "humanitarian crisis, which is a huge and critical crisis, can jeapordise the entire political process if it was not addressed."

Thirteen million people from Yemen's 24 million population do not have access to safe water and sanitation, while 10.5 million are food-insecure, according to UN figures.

"We have today 300,000 children who are in risk of dying or having their lives impaired because of malnutrition," said Ahmed, warning that "this figure can go nine times higher if there is no proper nutrition assistance."

Nearly 50 percent of Yemen's population are children and almost one million children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition.

During the uprising that ousted former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, the southern province of Abyan was the site of fierce battles between Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists and troops which fought for a year over control of the region.

The battle, finally won by government forces last June, has led to the destruction of Abyan as residents fled to nearby cities, mainly Aden.

"The government has been able to regain the territory of Abyan province and we have been successful in returning at least 90 percent of the internally displaced persons back to Abyan," said Naveed Hussein of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

There are however still 431,000 internally displaced persons in Yemen who have fled from several other areas across the south and north, the scene of on-off battles between Shiite Zaidi rebels and Sunni Islamists.

But "the government needs to improve the rule of law," said Hussein, adding that "supporting returns in Abyan is the top humanitarian priority."

In addition to its own problems, Yemen is also faced by the burden of refugees and migrants pouring into the country from the restive Horn of Africa, mainly Somalia and Ethiopia.

"The numbers of people coming into Yemen continues to increase, most of them from Ethiopia," said Hussein.

In 2011, the UNHCR recorded 103,000 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants crossing the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea into Yemen -- almost double the 2010 figure of 53,000. A reported 130 of them drowned.

Their number has now reached 269,000 registered refugees and 100,000 vulnerable and stranded migrants.

 

President of Iraq Kurdistan vows to avenge Yazidi minority

US agrees to ‘expedite’ arms sales to Gulf countries

Israel ex-security chiefs to Netanyahu: Accept Iran deal as ‘fait accompli’

Egypt leader amends electoral law

Saudi king cuts short French Riviera holiday

US may take 'additional steps' to defend allied fighters in Syria

Turkey will do 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants

PKK claims deadly suicide bombing against troops in eastern Turkey

Sudan rebels offered guarantees to attend talks

Pro-Hadi forces target rebel-held base as coalition forces enter Aden

Israel's president threatened over 'Jewish Terrorism' comments

French beach returns to public after departure of Saudi King

Syria army plane crashes in rebel-held town of Ariha

Iran bans newspaper owned by nuclear deal critic

More Yemen refugees look for shelter in Djibouti

Erdogan: Putin may give up on Assad

Yemen rebel leader says political settlement still possible

Kerry in Qatar for talks on Iran nuclear deal

UAE prosecutor refers 41 people to trial on terrorism charges

Kerry to Middle East allies: Iran deal will make region safer

Egypt court again postpones verdict in retrial of Jazeera reporters

Al-Nusra Front releases video to show ‘capture’ of US-trained rebels

Israel faces mounting pressure after baby killing in arson attack

'PKK suicide attack' kills two soldiers in eastern Turkey

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya

Syria army pushes back rebels near Latakia province

Arbil urges PKK to move out of Iraq Kurdistan

Yemen government returns to Aden with eyes set on Sanaa

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions