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The Saudi-led Coalition’s newly launched Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operation (YCHO) plan pledges a welcome injection of funding to Yemen’s 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan, for which $2.96 billion is urgently needed to help tackle the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
While initiatives to address Yemen’s critical needs in line with humanitarian principles are very welcome, the YCHO has been developed without consultation with the majority of operational aid agencies on the ground in Yemen, many of whom have been responding to critical humanitarian needs across Yemen throughout the three-year deterioration. International non-government organizations are now waiting for more information on the plan’s proposed approaches, including humanitarian corridors and development of port infrastructure. We remain concerned that the blockade on Red Sea ports has still not been fully lifted and about the insufficient volume of fuel reaching these, which has led to an increase in the price of basic goods across the country. As a result, we are seeing families pushed into preventable disease and starvation because they cannot afford to buy food and clean water.
Hodeidah port handles the majority of the country’s imports and cannot be substituted. It is vital that the warring parties commit to keep Hodeidah port fully open and functioning, including unfettered access for both humanitarian and commercial supplies. Actions from all parties to Yemen’s conflict that hinder the flow of critical supplies create undue suffering for civilians and are highly counterproductive to addressing humanitarian needs. Yemen’s current crisis is entirely manmade and requires more than humanitarian action to be undone. Across Yemen, continued fighting and air bombardment is destroying vital infrastructure and creating unacceptable civilian casualties, with hundreds of people killed in December alone. The collapse of the economy, household incomes and basic services like healthcare and schools as a result of the conflict is having a devastating effect on children – every day, dozens of young children are dying from hunger and disease, and 75% of Yemeni children are out of school.
INGO’s in Yemen welcome humanitarian initiatives but call on parties to the conflict to look beyond measures that focus solely on the current crisis, and address the ongoing violence that is driving it. There is no military solution to the conflict in Yemen, and no amount of money that can prevent its impact on civilians. The only way to reverse this crisis is for all sides to return to negotiations and reach a comprehensive peace deal.
Agencies who have signed:
Action Against Hunger
International Rescue Committee
Norwegian Refugee Council
Save the Children