The International NGO Forum in Yemen, a group of 40 non-governmental organizations active in Yemen and the Middle East region, is calling upon the international community for a swift resolution to the violent conflict that has led to an unprecedented humanitarian emergency there.
"Five years ago, when conflict erupted in Syria, the world looked away. We cannot let history repeat itself in Yemen," said Daw Mohammed, director of Forum member CARE's operations in Yemen. "The needs are growing and it is time that the world recognize it and end the humanitarian crisis in this country. The only way for people to see reduced suffering is for conflict to end. Otherwise, aid workers will continue to lack access to the most vulnerable populations, and those populations won't be able to move freely or rebuild their lives."
Before conflict erupted, Yemen was already the poorest nation in the Middle East. Compounded now by the effects of fighting, it is that much harder for millions of Yemenis to survive the conflict, find enough food, and get access to clean water, health services, and housing. But despite the magnitude of the crisis, the international response remains grossly inadequate due to limited funds and limited efforts to find a political solution that would allow for proper access to those who need help the most.
Of all the negative impacts of this emergency, food insecurity is one of the gravest. Some 14.4 million people need food assistance in Yemen, and more than half of them -- 7.6 million -- are facing severe food insecurity.
"The nutritional status of families is directly affected," explained Forum member Action Against Hunger's director in Yemen, Erin Hutchinson. "Ten of the 21 governorates here are at an emergency level of four, one step away from famine. One in three children suffer from severe acute malnutrition in the governorate of Hodeidah. Kids are arriving at treatment centers in very poor condition, and tend to be older than those we treated before the conflict started. It's a clear sign of the seriousness of the situation."