(February 20, 2019) — As the United Nations’ 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 – the largest ever – and the U.N. is planning to reach a total of 15 million people through its partners in 2019, including providing food aid to 12 million.
“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,” says Johan Mooij, CARE Yemen’s country director. “The threat of widespread famine and cholera is ever-present.”
In 2014, one year before the war began, 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.”
CARE has been working across Yemen since 1992 focusing on women’s and youth economic empowerment; prevention of gender-based violence; social inclusion; water resource management; civil society strengthening; good governance; and providing humanitarian assistance. CARE has a long history of implementing both development and humanitarian programming aiming to increase people’s ability to cope with crises and preparedness. CARE Yemen reaches around one million people a month and employs 300 national and international staff.
About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year CARE worked in 95 countries and reached more than 56 million people around the world. To learn more about CARE visit www.care.org.