Friday, 24 November 2017

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Aid received in Aden but humanitarian ceasefire still sought in Yemen

2015 08 01 WFP Yemen4

1.8.2015 - This week, food assistance from the UN World Food Program (WFP) has entered areas around Yemen’s port-city of Aden not reached since April. Roughly 340,000 people in eight of the worst affected districts are now receiving aid that includes wheat, pulses and cooking oil.  WFP partners are delivering this aid even though the humanitarian ceasefire announced by the Saudi-led Coalition last weekend failed to stick.

UNICEF NYHQ2015 1292 YasinSince April, the UN Program has successfully reached 13 of Yemen’s governorates to deliver food assistance to 2.6 million conflict-affected and severely food-insecure people. As Muhannad Hadi, the WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, observed, “We are challenging the odds to reach tens of thousands of people who would go hungry without food assistance…. We are working to overcome insecurity, checkpoints and many other hurdles in Yemen to reach desperate families unable to feed their children.”

The WFP is accomplishing much, but as the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien told a closed session of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, ‘a more durable ceasefire and a political solution’ is needed.  In his statement, Mr. O’Brien observed that “With 80 per cent of the population of about 26 million people in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance and more than 1,895 civilians killed by the fighting since March, the impact of this conflict on civilians is indeed catastrophic.” 

Other UN Agencies, have stressed the impact of the conflict on other areas as well. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports that the conflict has caused more than 3,600 schools to close. With at least 248 schools directly damaged, more are being used to house Internally Displaced People (IDPs).  UNICEF is supporting catch-up classes for 200,000 students, but an estimated 1.8 million children have had their school disrupted so far. Julien Harneis, the UNICEF Representative in Yemen, exclaims that, “we are doing all we can to return children to school so that they don’t completely lose out on their education. We urge the parties to the conflict to respect the safety of schools so as to give children a chance to learn. Meanwhile, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is working to protect cultural sites from further damage, as reported here last week.

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