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UN demands more humanitarian access to Yemen

Al Jazeera

The United Nations on Friday demanded that all parties in war-torn Yemen grant civilian and commercial access to the country's ports and airports. "Today, millions of people in Yemen are facing a triple tragedy: the spectre of famine, the world's largest ever single-year cholera outbreak, and the daily deprivation and injustice of a brutal conflict that the world is allowing to drag on and on," said Stephen O'Brien, the under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs. "I renew my call ... to address the following points: ensure that all ports - land, sea and air - are open to civilian - including commercial - traffic," O'Brien said, adding that the airport in the capital Sanaa should be opened "immediately" to humanitarian aid. READ MORE: Satirical shows lighten the mood amid Yemen's war The airport is held by the rebel Houthi fighters who also control the rest of the capital, but airspace over Yemen is dominated by the rival Saudi-led Arab coalition, which is helping the Yemeni government fight the Iran-linked Shia rebels. O'Brien also called on all the parties in the conflict "to respect international humanitarian and human rights law" by protecting civilians and infrastructure.


Yemen faces famine this year threatening 80% of population, U.N. warns

The Japan Times

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations aid chief warned Thursday that Yemen was sliding deeper into humanitarian crisis and could face famine this year. The poor Arab country has been engulfed in war since a Saudi-led coalition launched a bombing campaign in March 2015 to push back Iran-backed Houthi rebels who had seized the capital Sanaa and other cities. "The conflict in Yemen is now the primary driver of the largest food security emergency in the world," Stephen O'Brien, the U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council. "If there is no immediate action, famine is now a possible scenario for 2017." About 14 million people -- nearly 80 percent of the entire Yemeni population -- are in need of food aid, half of whom are severely food insecure, O'Brien said. At least 2 million people need emergency food assistance to survive, he added.


Famine 'largest humanitarian crisis in history of UN'

Al Jazeera

The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the United Nations was founded in 1945 with more than 20 million people in four countries at risk of starvation and famine, the UN humanitarian chief has said. Stephen O'Brien told the UN Security Council on Friday that "without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death" and "many more will suffer and die from disease". He urged an immediate injection of funds for Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria plus safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid "to avert a catastrophe". "To be precise," O'Brien said, "we need $4.4 billion by July". Without a major infusion of money, he said, children will be stunted by severe malnutrition and will not be able to go to school, gains in economic development will be reversed and "livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost".


U.N. says world faces largest humanitarian crisis since 1945

The Japan Times

UNITED NATIONS – The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the United Nations was founded in 1945, with more than 20 million people in four countries facing starvation and famine, the U.N.'s humanitarian chief said Friday. Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council that "without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death" and "many more will suffer and die from disease." He urged an immediate injection of funds for Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria plus safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid "to avert a catastrophe." "To be precise," O'Brien said, "we need $4.4 billion by July." Without a major infusion of money, he said, children will be stunted by severe malnutrition and won't be able to go to school, gains in economic development will be reversed and "livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost."


'Unfathomable pain and suffering' in Yemen

Al Jazeera

United Nations officials have warned that the conflict in the Arab world's poorest nation is intensifying daily, with armed groups expanding, thousands facing the cholera epidemic, and seven million "on the cusp of famine". Speaking before the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN special envoy to Yemen, called on all parties "to act for the sake of peace," saying "excuses are unacceptable...especially when the solutions are in plain sight." "The opportunity to reach peace is not yet lost," he said, urging the political leaders to recognise that "the continuation of the war can only lead to more human and physical loss". In the same meeting, UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien said the warring parties and their outside backers should feel "deeply guilty" at driving a worsening conflict that has exposed millions of Yemeni civilians "to unfathomable pain and suffering", including seven million people now "on the cusp of famine." He urged the Security Council to "lean much more heavily and effectively on the parties, and those outside Yemen who are leading this policy and action."