The UK is stepping up its humanitarian support to help millions of people at risk of starvation in Yemen, the Prime Minister announced today.
New UK aid worth £200 million will feed millions of people and provide water and sanitation to those most in need. This new announcement brings the total that the UK has committed since the start of the four-year conflict to £770 million.
Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, said:
Yemen is suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Millions of people edge ever closer to famine every day that the conflict continues. Today’s UK aid package will feed millions of Yemenis who face constant uncertainty over when they will next eat.
But aid is not enough. We are also doing all we can to support the UN-led peace process. The only way to end this crisis and the suffering of the Yemeni people is for both parties to agree a political settlement.
The new UK aid package will:
- Give cash and vouchers to 3.8 million vulnerable Yemenis across the country that they can use to buy food;
- screen and treat 20,000 children for malnutrition this year; and
- give 2 million people better access to water supply and basic sanitation, which will also help prevent the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade welcomed the aid, but urged the UK government to cease sales of arms to the Saudi government if it truly wanted to help in the region:
Any aid that reaches people in need must be welcomed. But that can’t disguise the role of UK-made arms or the complicity of the UK Government in the bombardment, which has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
This war could not be fought without the fighter jets and bombs being licensed by the UK and other arms dealing governments. The best thing that May and her colleagues can do for the people of Yemen is to stop the arms sales and do all that she can to end this terrible war.
On Tuesday 26 February the UK will host a side-event at the UN pledging conference in Geneva, bringing together leading donors and UN agencies for a renewed international effort to ensure aid reaches the most vulnerable Yemenis.
UK leadership has already helped make sure food, fuel and medicine get through Yemen’s Red Sea ports, where the majority of supplies enter the country. The UK has deployed seven experts to support the inspections of ships in Djibouti – to provide reassurance that weapons are not being smuggled on commercial ships.
The UK continues to press both parties to the conflict to implement the Stockholm agreements which will enable progress on the political process, help get vital aid across front lines and open up supply routes around the Red Sea port of Hodeidah.
This financial year, 2018/19, UK aid is:
- covering 25% of the costs of the first ever cholera vaccination campaign in Yemen (through GAVI) for nearly a million Yemenis;
- bringing together the Met Office, NASA and US scientists to use a world-leading approach to accurately predict the spread of cholera and target support to areas at greatest risk;
- providing medical support, legal services and psycho-social counselling to over 1,700 survivors of female sexual and gender-based violence; and
- reaching over 200,000 people who have fled their homes with access to health services and legal assistance
- The UK’s pledge to provide £200 million in UK aid for the 2019/20 financial year is from the DFID budget and comes ahead of the 2019 High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen.
- On 22 January 2019, the Foreign Secretary announced £2.5 million in additional UK funding to the peace process in Yemen, following the agreements made between the parties at the UN-led peace talks in Stockholm in December.
- Yemen remains the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with 24 million people requiring humanitarian assistance and nearly 10 million people now at risk of starvation.