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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid