Following the declaration of the end of airstrikes in Yemen, international aid organisation CARE says humanitarian access must urgently improve and a political solution be reached, as the impoverished nation is facing a humanitarian catastrophe.
Since airstrikes began on 26 March, the conflict in the Middle-Eastern nation has spread across the majority of the country, resulting in over 1,000 deaths, more than 4,000 injured and at least 150,000 people displaced. Basic infrastructure is crumbling with schools and hospitals damaged, and innocent civilians are coming under attack.
CARE and its partners are continuing to operate in areas of Yemen that have not been directly affected by the conflict, but because of security risks and access, food and other aid distributions in southern Yemen have been put on hold.
“We welcome the declared end of the airstrikes, but civilians continue to pay the highest price in this conflict and more must be done to protect them,” said Daw Mohamed, CARE Country Director in Yemen. “Aid agencies like CARE still face major challenges in reaching civilians with desperately-needed relief supplies, and resources are running alarmingly low throughout the country.
“The declared halt on airstrikes must followed swiftly with a political solution that brings a permanent end to the violence and instability, before more innocent lives are lost.”
CARE calls on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians, allow the import and distribution of critical humanitarian supplies into the country and quickly reach a political solution that brings an end to the violence.
Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle-East, and millions of people are at risk of harm or death not only due to the fighting, but also to lack of food, water and healthcare. A naval and air blockade remains in place across the country, further compounding the task of getting life-saving relief supplies into the country. Continued fighting is also preventing civilians from being reached with available relief supplies.
Before this recent eruption of violence, Yemen was already on the verge of a humanitarian crisis, with over 60 per cent of the population reliant on aid and an overwhelming majority of the country dependent on food imports.
Women and children are especially vulnerable. The damage and closure of hospitals will impact approximately 700,000 pregnant women who rely on healthcare. Seventy-seven children have been estimated to have been killed, with that number expected to rise significantly as an estimated one-third of fighters are minors.
To support CARE’s humanitarian and emergency response work, donate to CARE’s Global Emergency Fund at www.care.org.au/emergencyfund or by calling 1800 DONATE.
CARE has been working in Yemen since 1993, focusing on helping women and young people to forge new economic opportunities; the prevention of gender-based violence; social inclusion projects; water management; civil society strengthening; and providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and those affected by conflict.
CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. www.care.org.au