The United Nations has convened an urgent pledging conference for the people of Yemen 1 March. Sweden and Switzerland will host the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen. According to the Swedish Minister of International Development Cooperation, Per Olsson Fridh, Yemen is currently the world´s biggest humanitarian catastrophe.
The situation in Yemen is a perfect storm of humanitarian disasters. A civil war has raged since 2014. In addition, torrential rains, flooding, a fuel crisis, the threat of desert locusts, outbreaks of cholera and COVID-19 have ravaged the country. Large scale food insecurity and acute malnutrition are widespread. Lack of funding to aid organizations like the WFP also lead to increasing cases of starvation for millions of Yemenis.
82% of the total Yemeni population of 29.8 million need humanitarian aid and 19 million are targeted by the violence. People reached by aid is currently only at 10.7 million and the required aid stands at USD 3.4 billion.
The main purpose of the High-level Pledging Event is for participating Member States and other donors to announce pledges to address the dire needs in the country. “We must do everything we can to unite the world to intervene and prevent the starvation and also to give back a degree of dignity to Yemen,” says Minster Olsson Fridh.
Award winning photographer
In the run up to the event award winning photographer Giles Clarke travelled to Yemen for the UN. These are his photographs and the stories of Yemenites.
Hanan, aged 35, mother of two. Displaced by war in Yemen.
“When bombing got close to our house in Hudaydah, we left everything and ran away. The road to Aden was very difficult, with rockets and bullets being fired at checkpoints. I don’t have a job; I ask people for help and for food for my children. Sometimes we get food and sometimes we do not get anything. My sister died in the bombing in Hudaydah. Everything changed in my life.”
Hanan is divorced and taking care of her children, aged 13 and 7.
Zahraa, aged 23. Displaced by war in Yemen.
“I am married, and we have one daughter. Her name is Amal and she is 2 years old. We live with my mother, my sisters and my brother. My parents are divorced. The thing that makes me the happiest is when all of us sit down and discuss our wishes. My sister wants to complete her studies at the university. My brother wants to get married. I miss stability. I hope we can return to our hometown.”
Yebrah, aged 50, mother of ten. Displaced by war in Yemen.
“I have 10 children — 2 died and 8 are alive. My children are the most precious thing in my life. The hardest thing I have been through is when I lost one of my sons to a brain tumor.”
Taybah, aged 5. Displaced by war in Yemen.
Taybah, aged 5. Displaced by war in Yemen. “My favourite thing to do is to play with my dolls.”
Kamal, aged 35. Displaced by war in Yemen.
The situation in Hudaydah was very bad. Our homes were hit, and the houses were destroyed by shelling. I lost my father. Our life here is one day working and 10 days without work. We eat two meals a day. If we eat breakfast and lunch, then we do not eat dinner.
My son has a heart disease. The treatment he needs is not available here; I bring it from Hudaydah. If he stops taking the treatment for a few days, he gets very tired. It is a treatment for life. The thing that I am most proud of is my son, he keeps me going in life. My son, Rakan, and his mother. My family is the most important thing. And all I wish is for my son to be cured.
Fatima, aged 45, mother of eleven. Displaced by war in Yemen.
“The bombing was so heavy. We had to carry everything we could and leave the house immediately. I left my ID papers and everything important behind me,” Fatima says. “We need to rent a room, we cannot live inside the tent because of the wind and heavy rain. We get wet sometimes and this is really hard.”
Fatima has 11 sons and daughters. She fled Hudaydah three years ago because of air strikes and bombing.