News / Middle East

Improving Humanitarian Situation Critical to Yemen's Stability

Women collect water from a rain-water pond on the outskirts of Sana'a, Yemen, May 8, 2013.
Women collect water from a rain-water pond on the outskirts of Sana'a, Yemen, May 8, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
— Senior U.N. officials say improving humanitarian conditions in Yemen is critical for the country's future stability.  The officials say the international community can help the fractured country by supporting the short-term and long-term needs of millions of destitute people.

Yemen is one of the poorest, most deprived countries in the world.  The United Nations reports 14.7 million people, more than half the population, needs assistance this year. 

It said millions had no access to safe drinking water and that Yemen has the second highest rate of malnutrition in the world, with one million children under age five suffering from growth-stunting or acute malnutrition.

The U.N. is appealing for $591 million to provide humanitarian aid for about half of these destitute Yemenis.

Women and children gather to collect water from a tap at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in al-Mazraq in the northwestern Yemeni province of Hajja, May 20, 2013.Women and children gather to collect water from a tap at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in al-Mazraq in the northwestern Yemeni province of Hajja, May 20, 2013.
x
Women and children gather to collect water from a tap at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in al-Mazraq in the northwestern Yemeni province of Hajja, May 20, 2013.
Women and children gather to collect water from a tap at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in al-Mazraq in the northwestern Yemeni province of Hajja, May 20, 2013.
In addition, Yemen is hosting nearly a quarter-million registered refugees from the Horn of Africa, mainly from Somalia.  It also cares for 400,000 people forced to flee their homes because of conflicts in the north and south of the country. 

U.N. officials report progress is being made toward political solutions for these conflicts, and this bodes well for the future stability of the country. 

The U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed,  said the international community had an opportunity to help stabilize Yemen - an opportunity that he said should not be missed.

“In order to stabilize Yemen, we need to realize unless we create jobs for the young, the youth - unless we are able to provide food assistance for those life-saving activities or health.  You know close to eight-million people today cannot have adequate access to health, medical facilities.  So, if we do not address these, I am saying then we will not be able to stabilize the country," said Ahmed.

Director of the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen Trond Jensen concurred with this assessment.  He noted the political process, which has been going on for close to two years, was very fragile.  He said people had to see a real change in their lives for that process not to fail.

“There is a huge number of hungry people.  There are huge numbers of people who do not have access to the most basic of services, who do not have access to rule of law - to protection, etc., and that has the potential to undermine the political process. And in that process, I think it is important that the international community stand by the government of Yemen to make sure that those gains - call them peace dividends if you like -- that there are tangible progress for the average Yemeni in terms of having access to food, not having to starve, not having to see the children suffer,” he said. 

Jensen said the U.N. humanitarian operation would emphasize life-saving support for the most vulnerable people. 

But after the immediate needs are met, he said, U.N. agencies would move toward recovery.  That, he said, would include building resilience in communities, efforts to remove landmines, and restoring rural livelihoods.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid