Ahead of a UN Security Council meeting tomorrow on Yemen, Islamic Relief is calling for concrete action in order to achieve a meaningful ceasefire to avert famine in the country.
Earlier today, Martin Griffiths, the UN’s Special Envoy for Yemen said that the warring parties have offered “concrete ideas” to achieve peace in the country.
Mohammed Zulqarnain Baloch, Islamic Relief’s Country Director for Yemen, said:
“I hope that these ‘concrete ideas’ lead to a clear and meaningful ceasefire in Yemen. Before the war, the country was already in an emergency situation, now the situation is untenable. Three quarters of the country are living in a state of emergency and if this conflict continues, they will be hit by famine. The people of Yemen, and now Hodeida in particular, have suffered for too long. They deserve nothing less than all sides of the conflict showing a meaningful commitment towards peace.”
The UAE-led coalition announced earlier this week that it would pause the recent escalation in their military activity around the port of Hodeida. Islamic Relief welcomed this but notes that there are continued reports of military skirmishes on the edge of the city.
Mohammed Zulqarnain Baloch added:
“It is imperative for our aid teams to have unrestricted access to be able to help those in need. And it is vital that Hodeida port, which accounts for more than 70% of the imports in this country, is kept open. Even a 2-week closure would result in children dying as they are completely dependent on emergency food rations.”
Islamic Relief is currently distributing emergency food rations and shelter to over 5,000 people newly displaced by the fighting in and around Hodeida. We are also starting to provide emergency support to people leaving the city. Tensions in the city remain high and our operations have experienced a steady increase in delays as the fighting moves closer to the city centre.
Salem Jaffer Baob, Islamic Relief’s, Head of Hodeida sub-office, said:
“Hodeida is becoming a ghost town, with streets and houses emptying every day. Hundreds of families are leaving, heading to the capital Sana’a and Ibb, and Dhamar governorates.”
There have been reports of several civilian casualties. Salem Jaffer Baob added:
“The hospitals and health centres in Hodeida and rural areas along the frontline are struggling to cope with the number of casualties and are running out of vital medical goods needed to treat the injured.
“The people of Yemen can’t take much more of this conflict and we hope that the people sitting round the table tomorrow in New York will really think about them and what they are going through and come up with some meaningful solutions together to this conflict.”
Imran Madden, Director of Islamic Relief in the UK, added:
“The UK government has a special role to play in the conflict on Yemen as the penholder to the UN Security Council talks. The UK must do everything possible to use its diplomatic leverage on all sides of the conflict to make sure that these “concrete ideas” proposed by the warring parties lead to concrete action for a meaningful solution. The people of Yemen cannot wait any longer.”