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This has to be the last time that 80% of Yemen’s population needs humanitarian aid

As the UN’s third high-level donor pledging event to garner support for the humanitarian response in Yemen gets underway in Geneva, CARE is calling for the world to do everything it can to make sure this is the last. The fundraising target for this year’s humanitarian response in Yemen is 4 billion USD – the largest ever – and the UN is planning to reach a total of 15 million people through its partners in 2019, including providing food aid to 12 million.

Johan Mooij, CARE Yemen’s Country Director says: “We are helping hundreds of thousands of people across Yemen and we are appalled – and exhausted – by the scale of the need and the year-on-year increases in suffering. The threat of widespread famine and cholera is ever-present.”

One year before the war began – in 2014 – there were 14.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen, 10.5 million of whom did not have enough to eat.

Now, over 24 million Yemenis need assistance and 20 million are severely food insecure. This increase of ten million people can only be attributed to the conflict that has gone on now for four years, killing tens of thousands and reducing an already poor country to an economic wreck.

“The economic situation is not improving,” says Mooij. “There are still millions of families without income, and the past few weeks have seen an extremely concerning increase in airstrikes and ground attacks across the country which are killing women and children and destroying people’s homes, farms, markets and mosques, as well as vital infrastructure. What we saw being agreed upon in Sweden in December – the hope that we all had – is in danger of being lost if urgent action is not taken by parties to the conflict.”

This has to be the last pledging conference aiming to raise this kind of money, the last time the humanitarian community needs to feed twelve million people. And for that we need not just extremely generous funding commitments but also urgent political action to prevent a resurgence of hostilities. We must consider what this war is doing to the lives and futures of Yemeni people – in particular young women and men. If this war lasts longer, an entire generation will be lost and a whole country will have no prospect of a better future.

One of the casualties of war is people’s skills, as communities focus all of their energy on surviving – scraping together income to feed and shelter their families. CARE is helping communities to plan for a future beyond this war through supporting women and young people to start small businesses and access vocational training and education, but more funding is needed for this type of project.

Mooij says: “CARE urges the international community – in particular, international governments, the media, those who have influence – to be as horrified as we are by the tragedy in Yemen, and to say today: Enough. We will all commit to ensuring this is the last time that 80% of a country is so desperate.”

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