Nine

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Even if you try to avoid news coverage of it, you must have seen the horrifying pictures coming out of Yemen. A year ago this month, conflict in Yemen escalated, and today more than 80% of the population – some 20 million people – are in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 2.4 million people have fled their homes, and more than 14 million are unable to meet their food needs. We’ve all seen the pictures of skeletal, starving babies and mums for whom all hope has died. We can’t begin to imagine enduring a year of watching your children starve, against a backdrop of chaos, poor (or no) santitation, and endless violence.

The United Nations and humanitarian organizations are working to get aid to families in crisis in the country, and the UN has made an appeal for $1.8 billion for food, water, health care, shelter, and protection issues, but only 12% has been funded to date.

There are lots of agencies working tirelessly to help and you can find their details at the end of this post. All the tiny donations add up, so maybe forgo that extra bottle of Bucks Fizz this Christmas and donate that fiver to a humanitarian organisation instead – the feel good factor will last far longer.

If times are hard for you, as they are for so many this year, and you cant give cash to help, dont depair. There is still real help you can give.

This week MPs held a vote to stop supporting Saudi Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen, at least until the UN can carry out a thorough investigation into whether the Saudi regime has broken international law. Despite the fact that the bill didn’t cover UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia, it was still defeated by a majority of 90, with over 100 Labour MPs abstaining from the vote.

This is not good enough.

The UK are already the second biggest arms dealer in the world. Most of the weapons being used against a starving and terrified population in Yemen are supplied by us.

Please write to your MP or MSP (you can find out how to write to them here and whether they voted to withdraw support here) and let them know that this isn’t acceptable. Let’s ramp up the pressure on our representatives to stop turning a blind eye to evil in our name.

If you’d like to donate to help humanitarian organisations working in Yemen, you can find their details here:

– The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) mobilizes resources and technical support to assist Yemenis in need. As a coordinating body, OCHA works closely with the Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement, UN agencies, and local non-governmental organizations. OCHA also provides funding to NGOs and partners on the ground working in hard-to-reach areas.

– The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and partners provide for a number of resources for Yemeni children and their families, including access to clean water and sanitation, child and social protection, and education. UNICEF has vaccinated over 4.5 million Yemeni children under 5 for measles and polio in 2015, as well as provided nutritional care to over 4 million Yemeni children in 2015. 

– The World Food Programme (WFP) has three main goals in its Yemen response: 1) To deliver food to people affected by conflict, malnourished children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers, 2) to provide emergency food assistance, and 3) to help the humanitarian aid community by transporting fuel into the country. Every month, WFP assists millions of people through in-kind food assistance.

– The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) works to safeguard displaced families who have fled violence. UNHCR and partners have delivered household items and emergency shelter, such as tents, mattresses, and blankets to more than 740,000 internally displaced people.

– The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners are providing sexual and gender-based violence treatment and counseling services, hygiene kits, emergency obstetric care, ante-natal care, and other services. Yemen is an important area for UNFPA since 2.9 million women and girls are of reproductive age, with an estimated 500,000 pregnancies.

– The World Health Organization (WHO) works with partners to provide medical aid and supplies to Yemenis in need. WHO’s program areas in Yemen include emergency preparedness and humanitarian action, health systems development, reproductive health, and violence and injury prevention.

– The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is working with partners in Yemen to promote development, clear mines, restore basic services, and provide livelihood and job opportunities, among other efforts.  

 

 

Image by Debra Torrance 

Written by Victoria Pearson 

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