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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid