Islamic Relief Worldwide has warned that ‘tens of thousands’ more civilians could die senselessly unless warring parties seize chance for peace.
“Warring parties in Yemen cannot afford to waste another opportunity to agree a meaningful ceasefire and halt the ever-escalating humanitarian crisis.” So says Islamic Relief Worldwide’s CEO, Nasser Haghamed, ahead of peace talks in Geneva.
The UN sponsored talks are the first to take place in more than two years, and must be a sized upon as an opportunity to resolve the conflict in which thousands have been killed.
The war, now in its fourth year, is an entirely man-made catastrophe in which diseases like cholera have been allowed to run rampant, medical treatment has become scarce and malnutrition rates have risen.
Haghamed said that any further delays in securing a meaningful ceasefire will deepened the already catastrophic humanitarian situation.
“For years, Yemeni civilians have been bombed from the skies, shelled from the ground, starved in their homes and left dying in hospitals that no longer have the resources to treat them. They have nowhere to go and have long spent any resources they once had.
“Whole cities, like Hodeidah, have been reduced to ghost towns as families are displaced time and again and people are forced to take shelter wherever they can. Conditions are dire, people are sleeping in the open, with no sanitation, no shelter, no food and no medicine. Families are having to watch their loved ones die right in front of them, as the world looks the other way,” he added.
He called on all parties to stop ignoring the plight of ordinary Yemenis and come to the negotiating table in good faith and with a genuine desire to find a durable solution to this conflict.
The conflict is now in its fourth year and more than 22 million people – three-quarters of the population – are in dire need of humanitarian aid and protection. Nearly 8.5 million people do not know where their next meal is coming from, with conditions ripe for a fresh cholera epidemic that will take a heavy toll on the youngest and the weakest. The threat of famine is very real.
According to the UN, more than 2,200 children have died as a direct result of conflict but tens of thousands more have died from preventable diseases, with at least one child dying every ten minutes in Yemen.
“Yemen was already in a terrible state before the conflict but years of fighting have plunged it and its people to the depths of despair, which has only been made worse by on-going restrictions on aid entry and access,” Haghamed said.
“Guarantees of full and unfettered humanitarian access must be one of the first issues on the table in Geneva, with all sides taking steps to ensure that civilians and aid workers can not only get the supplies they need, but can do so safely.”
“The international community must also step up its financial support and exercise its diplomatic clout to ensure the talks act as key step in putting an end to this senseless war.”
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