Yemen: US Government must help end commercial blockade as millions struggle to survive, urges CARE

Yemen: US Government must help end commercial blockade as millions struggle to survive, urges CARE

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  • At June 14 peace talks, CARE calls for permanent ceasefire and end to commercial blockade
  • Yemen currently has greatest level of humanitarian need in the world

WASHINGTON, D.C.-(June 11, 2015)— As peace talks between Yemen’s conflicting parties convene on June 14, humanitarian agency CARE, calls on the US government and international community to pressure all parties to reach a permanent ceasefire and bring an end to the blockade on commercial imports. Some 20 million people in Yemen are now in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

Since the last failed peace talks on May 26, an additional 400 Yemenis have been killed. From the start of the conflict in late March, the humanitarian needs have risen from 60 to 80 percent and continue to rise at a rapid pace.  

“Yemen now has the greatest level of humanitarian needs in the world. Items basic to human survival like food, water and fuel continue to be blocked from entering the country, and this is having catastrophic impacts on civilians,” said CARE Vice-President of Advocacy David Ray. “Amidst incredible human suffering, the country is unraveling, and if the conflict continues, security and stability of the entire region is at stake. The international community, including the US Government, must do more to respond to this growing crisis. It is critical that the blockade be lifted. In a country dependent on imports, allowing commercial shipments is a matter of life and death.”

With the closure of land, air and sea routes to commercial goods, fuel is in critical supply, which is crippling Yemen’s infrastructure and ability to provide basic services. These shortages are hindering vital services such as healthcare, waste management and most critically, clean water. Water is cut off in some places like Aden, and only available a few days a week in most cities. According to the UN, 10 million people will likely lose water access due to lack of fuel.

The World Food Program reports that two million more people have become food insecure during this current crisis, as Yemen was reliant of food imports for 90% of its food consumption prior to the conflict. Prices of staple food have soared, with the price of wheat increasing over 80 percent in Aden and Abyan, where much of the violence is centered.

According to the UN, more than 15 million people are without access to healthcare due to lack of medical supplies and hospitals being damaged or destroyed, which is a violation of international humanitarian law. The death toll is over 2,200 and the number of displaced people has doubled since May to more than one million people. Increasing numbers of displaced people living in cramped conditions, lack of sanitation and a collapsing healthcare system also increases risk for communicable disease outbreaks.

“A solution for a permanent ceasefire needs to be reached, but above all, it’s absolutely imperative that the blockade is lifted before thousands more people, including women and children, die of preventable causes, such as lack of water and malnutrition,” said Mohammed Daw, CARE Country Director in Yemen.

Media Contact:  Holly Frew  +1.404.979.9389

About CARE:  Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit

People line up at CARE water tank in Sanaa. According to UN, 10 million at risk of losing access to water. Photo: Hana Alshowafi/CARE