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“The 6-year war has made Yemen the world's largest humanitarian emergency”

Press Release | London, 26th March 2021, 12:00 GMT

6 years of war in Yemen has caused the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. The level of destruction to infrastructure by bombing and shelling in populated areas, as well as the contamination by explosive devices, is huge. The conflict in Yemen provides a horrifying example of the long-term humanitarian consequences of explosive weapons used in populated areas. States must support the draft international agreement against urban bombing currently being negotiated to help end the suffering.

Around 233,000 people have died due to the conflict in Yemen, some being direct victims of the violence, others dying of the indirect consequences of the conflict, such as lack of health services and clean water as health facilities and water supply systems have been largely destroyed by bombing and shelling; lack of food due to the destruction of roads making impossible to channelling goods, etc. More than 20,000 civilian deaths and injuries have been verified as a direct result of hostilities since 2015.

In 2020, the conflict intensified resulting in shocking levels of civilian suffering. By the end of October 2020, there were 47 front lines, up from 33 in January 2020. In recent weeks, violent combats have taken place in Marib forcing thousands to flee. Many families who live in Marib have already faced multiple displacements to flee violence’s in the last years. They are stranded in overcrowded camps, needing shelter, protection, food, water, hygiene and health.

There are reports of widespread use of landmines in several regions of the country. Almost 1,100 civilians were killed or injured by landmines or improvised explosive devices from 2018 to 2020 included. In 2020 only, at least 1,300 civilians were affected in landmine- or ERW-related incidents (these incidents remain largely under-reported).

“The 6-year war has made Yemen the world's largest humanitarian emergency. 66 % of the population requires humanitarian assistance. The level of destruction is staggering. NGOs face significant security and administrative constraints that considerably reduce their scope of action. Humanitarian aid is unfortunately largely underfunded as only 50% of the 3.8 billion USD required by the United Nations are so far met. States’ Donors should support lifesaving humanitarian aid in Yemen. They should also continue to put pressure on parties to the conflict to lift the obstacles that impede humanitarian access and intervention and ensure civilians are protected,"

said Baptiste Chapuis*, HI's Disarmament, Crisis & Conflicts Advocacy Officer

The level of contamination by explosive remnants of war in Yemen is likely to be extremely high due to the intensity of the conflict over the last 6 years. Should the conflict end today, incidents linked with the use of weapons are expected to last for decades and continue to impact civilians and prevent the return of the displaced to their homes.

The massive and repeated use of explosive weapons in populated areas - especially those with wide-area effects - has exacerbated Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and will have a long-term impact on the country. According to the Humanitarian Needs Overview 2021:

  • 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, which represents 66% of the entire population.
  • 16 million people who are food insecure
  • 3.6 million people are displaced
  • The disruption to the economy has inflated the cost of food. In recent months, the country has also been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural hazards such as flooding ad locusts.

HI's impact:

  • HI has provided more than 35,000 crutches, walkers, wheelchairs etc.
  • Nearly 23,000 people have received psychological support from HI
  • HI fitted 520 people with prostheses and orthotics through its collaboration with the Sana'a Physiotherapy and Prosthesis Centre.
  • More than 800 Yemeni health workers in Sana'a and other governorates were sensitized and trained in early trauma response.
  • HI has treated at least 30,000 people, many of them are victims of the conflict, since the beginning of its operations in 2015. More than 3,000 of them (Figure Dec. 2019) were victims of explosive weapons such as bombings, explosive remnants of war, improvised explosive devices.

3 key points on the diplomatic process:

  1. HI and members of the International Network of Explosive Weapons (INEW) are working with States to develop a strong international agreement to end the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas and to ensure support to the victims of these weapons.
  2. An Ireland-led diplomatic process to reach an international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas started in October 2019. So far, more than 70 States have been involved in drafting the international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Negotiations were put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic but resumed early this year.
  3. A final round of negotiation is scheduled for late spring/early summer in Geneva depending on the outcomes of the global health situation caused by Covid-19. Then, the international agreement should be proposed to States for endorsement during a conference that should be scheduled depending on the outcomes of the global health situation caused by Covid-19.


Notes:

Humanity & Inclusion’s experts are available for interviews from today:

  • *Baptiste Chapuis, Disarmament, Crisis & Conflicts Advocacy Officer
  • Caroline Dauber, Head of Programmes in Yemen

Other information:


Press contact

Lucy Cottle, Humanity & Inclusion UK
Email: l.cottle@hi.org
Mobile: +44 (0)7504989280

About Humanity & Inclusion

Humanity & Inclusion is an independent international aid organization. It has been working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict, and disaster for 39 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, our action and testimony are focused on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Since it was founded in 1982, Humanity & Inclusion has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) works constantly to mobilize resources, jointly manage projects, and to increase the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. Humanity & Inclusion is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 and the winner of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2011. Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task.

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