Monday, March 28, 2011

United Nations humanitarian chief: Aid is needed now for Yemen

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

(New York, 28 March 2011): United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos expressed serious concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Following the recent political upheaval in Yemen, it is estimated that more than 82 people have died and hundreds have been injured. "I urge those involved to refrain from excessive violence and ensure the safety of the civilian population," Ms. Amos said.

"I am especially concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen because, even before the recent protests, the country was facing a humanitarian crisis due to protracted conflict in the north displacing 300,000 people, some of them multiple times," she said. "The recent fighting has again affected hundreds of people that have not recovered from earlier conflict," she added.

In addition, the country is facing acute water and food shortages. Some 31.5 percent of the population is food-insecure, and approximately 12 percent (or 2.7 million people) are severely food insecure, at a time when food prices, including that of wheat, have increased significantly.

Aid workers lack the capacity to respond to all potential needs, particularly as insecurity has caused some humanitarian agencies to relocate staff out of affected areas.

"The United Nations is discussing how to reach affected people with both the Government and the Al-Houtis, and I hope we will have an agreement on access soon," Ms. Amos said. "The prolonged and chronic suffering in the country means that humanitarian aid continues to be urgently needed."

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