The humanitarian situation in Yemen remains of grave concern to the United States. As one of the largest donors to Yemen, the United States has provided more than $3.4 billion in humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the people of Yemen since the crisis began six years ago. Separately, the United States announced recently that it is restoring humanitarian assistance funding through NGOs in northern Yemen to help meet the needs of vulnerable Yemenis and augment longstanding US support for assistance provided by the UN and other international organizations.
The United States supports the free flow of fuel, food, and other essential commercial goods into Yemen. However, doing so requires not only that commercial goods pass smoothly through ports, but also that they are allowed to pass throughout the country, including areas under Houthi control.
“Unfortunately, we know that the Houthis continue to impede that flow, including diverting money from imports that were intended for civil service salaries in direct violation of their obligations under a UN-brokered agreement,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price. “As a result, civil servants are not getting paid and therefore lack funds to purchase what food is available. “Houthi diversion of fuel imports is just one of the many ways they are exacerbating the humanitarian crisis for the majority of the Yemeni population under their control.”
The United States will work with the governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia to find a way to ensure food and fuel, and other commercial goods get to Yemeni markets and that it is not confiscated by the Houthis for sale on the black market or for use in their war effort.
The United States and the United Nations are urging the parties to start talking under UN auspices. They are proposing an accelerated timeline for peace, in which issues like a ceasefire and access to ports, could be addressed and resolved quickly and simultaneously if the parties commit to working on the details.
“Only through a durable peace agreement can we hope to reverse the dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” said Spokesperson Price. Supporting such an agreement is precisely what U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking is seeking to do.