Ministers Coveney and Cannon call for international support for people of Yemen
Press release02 August 2017
Minister Coveney and Minister of State Cannon join calls for the international community to support the people of Yemen.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Simon Coveney, T.D., and Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon, T.D., have joined calls for the international community to support the people of Yemen. The heads of three United Nations agencies – UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organisation – visited Yemen last week and issued an urgent call to the international community to redouble their efforts to respond.
Minister Coveney said:
‘The people of Yemen are in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe. The current outbreak of cholera is a tragic development in what is already the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
The situation in Yemen is entirely man-made, brought about by the ongoing conflict which has destroyed infrastructure and cut off much of the population from food and other supplies. The people of Yemen are dying from hunger and disease every day and there can be no end to their suffering while the conflict continues. The international community must work together to bring an end to this conflict and ensure that the people of Yemen receive the assistance they urgently need. Ireland commends the efforts of UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and his team, who continue to work towards a peace agreement that is acceptable to all parties to the conflict.’
Minister Coveney went on to say:
‘I urge the parties to the conflict to ensure that vitally needed food and medical supplies are facilitated with access for those who need them. Ports must remain open to humanitarian organisations and humanitarian access across the country must be respected.’
Minister of State Cannon added:
‘The cholera outbreak in Yemen is an extremely worrying development in an already critical crisis. Access by the Yemeni people to adequate healthcare, proper sanitation and a safe, sufficient, clean water supply is crucial if lives are to be saved. The international community must support organisations who can provide these services on the ground. Ireland has fulfilled its pledge of €4 million in funding to the crisis in Yemen for 2017 and I would urge other donors to also fulfil their pledges urgently.’
Since 2012, Ireland has provided €11.2 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen, including €4million in assistance this year.
2 August 2017
Notes for the editor:
- Yemen is now one of the most severe humanitarian crises in the world. With a population of some 26 million, food insecurity continues to intensify. Over 14 million people are currently food insecure, with at least 2 million people in a critical condition and on the brink of famine. It is now over two years since Yemen’s civil war began in earnest and the conflict shows no sign of abating. The high number of attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure has been of particular concern and has compounded the dire humanitarian situation.
- In recent months, an unprecedented cholera outbreak has added to severity of the crisis, affecting almost the entire country. To date there have been over 396,000 suspected cholera cases and almost 1,900 deaths. The intensity of the outbreak has been such that in recent weeks, an average of 30 people have been dying per day. One in every 100 Yemenis is suspected to have been infected with the disease.
- The ongoing conflict is hampering efforts of the UN and international humanitarian organisations to bring urgently needed medical supplies and food to those most in need.
- Less than half of the existing health facilities remain in operation. Hospitals and health centres are running out of medicines, fuel and supplies. Less than one third of acutely needed medicines and medical supplies are now entering Yemen, with the UN estimating that on average 20 people die every day from treatable wounds and curable illnesses.
- In 2017, the UN has appealed for $2.1 billion to meet the needs of 12 million people affected by conflict in Yemen.
- On the 25th April 2017, the United Nations and the Governments of Sweden and Switzerland convened a one day high-level pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen in order to galvanize financial and political support in response to the rapidly deteriorating situation and the threat of famine. As a result of the conference, donors pledged to provide $1.1 billion to the crisis in 2017.
- At the high-level event Ireland committed to providing at least €4 million in humanitarian funding for 2017 to the crisis in Yemen.
- In fulfilment of this pledge, funding of €4 million was disbursed to the UN’s Yemen Humanitarian Pooled Fund (YHPF).
- Since 2012, Ireland has provided €11.2 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen, which has been significantly scaled since 2015 in response to the escalating crisis. In 2016 Ireland provided €4.1 million.
- The heads of WFP, WHO and UNICEF released a press release following their joint visit to Yemen last week www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2017/joint-visit-yemen/en/.