WHO, WFP and UNICEF: Yemen’s families cannot withstand another day of war, let alone another 1,000
WHO, WFP and UNICEF appeal for humanitarian access and an end to conflict, as 75 per cent of population now in need of urgent assistance.
NEW YORK, 29 December 2017 – “We have passed the grim milestone of 1,000 days of war in Yemen. As violence has escalated in recent days, children and families are yet again being killed in attacks and bombardments.
“More than 1,000 days of families driven from their homes by brutal violence. 1,000 days without enough food to eat and safe water to drink. 1,000 days of bombed hospitals and damaged schools. 1,000 days of children recruited to fight. 1,000 days of disease and death … of unimaginable human suffering.
“The conflict in Yemen has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world – a crisis which has engulfed the entire country. Some 75 per cent of Yemen’s population are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 11.3 million children who cannot survive without it. At least 60 per cent of Yemenis are now food insecure and 16 million people do not have access to safe water and proper sanitation. Many more lack access to basic health services. Less than half of Yemen’s health facilities are fully functional and medical staff have gone months without being paid their salaries.
“This horrific tally of the conflict’s devastation reflects only what we know. In reality, the situation is likely to be worse. UN agencies do not have full humanitarian access to some of the hardest hit communities. In many, we cannot even assess their needs.
“But this we do know: Yemen has passed the tipping point into a rapid decline from crisis to deepening catastrophe.
“We have seen some progress in recent days with the first commercial fuel imports allowed into Hudaydah port, following recent commercial food imports. It is critical that these supplies are maintained, as restrictions on fuel imports have caused the price of diesel fuel to double, threatening access to safe water and sanitation, and urgent medical care. Far too many hospitals are short of fuel for the generators that allow them to stay open. Water pumping stations serving over 3 million people are quickly running out of the fuel they need to operate, while the price of commercially trucked water has increased up to six-fold. Safe water is now completely unaffordable for more than two thirds of Yemenis living in extreme poverty. All of this threatens to undermine efforts to contain the ongoing, deadly outbreaks of diphtheria, cholera and acute watery diarrhea.
“We remain committed to helping the people of Yemen. We have reached nearly 6 million people with clean water, distributed 3.7 million liters of fuel to public hospitals, treated more than 167,000 children for severe acute malnutrition, delivered more than 2,700 metric tons of medicines and medical supplies, and vaccinated 4.8 million children against polio, and deliver food assistance to around 7 million people a month.
“In Yemen today, anyone sick with suspected cholera who is able to access health services has an almost 100 per cent chance of surviving.
“Yet worsening conditions on the ground threaten to overwhelm our capacity to respond.
“If we cannot gain greater access and the violence does not subside, the cost in lives will be incalculable. That is why we once again appeal to parties to the conflict to immediately allow full humanitarian access in Yemen and to stop the fighting.
“Yemen’s families should not have to withstand another day of war, let alone another 1,000.”
Joint statement attributable to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,WFP Executive Director David Beasley, and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake