The United States is sending urgently needed humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis in Yemen, the Middle East's poorest and most food insecure country.
Since 1990, when North and South Yemen unified and became the Republic of Yemen, the country has experienced long periods of conflict and civil war, including the 2011 uprising, a part of the Arab Spring. The most recent military conflict there began in March of last year, when the Houthis took over large swaths of territory and forced the elected president, Abed Mansour Hadi, to flee the country. At the request of President Hadi, a Saudi Arabian-led military coalition began airstrikes against Houthi positions.
Since then, some 2.8 million Yemenis have been displaced. Over 20 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian protection and assistance, and at least 6 million are in need of life-saving food assistance. According to the UN Emergency Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, as a result of the violence and restrictions on imports, the inflow of food and fuel have been disrupted, hampering the delivery of basic services across Yemen. So for example, health clinics report severe shortages of supplies, medical equipment and personnel. As a result, UNICEF estimates that in the past year, nearly 10,000 children under five years old may have died of preventable diseases such as pneumonia or diarrhea, increasing to 50,000 the number of children under 5 who die every year in Yemen.
Indeed, it is the country’s children who pay the highest price. Nearly 10 million Yemeni children are now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. Some 2 million are at risk from diarrheal diseases and 320,000 are facing severe acute malnutrition.
In early April, the United States announced it is providing nearly 139 million dollars of new humanitarian aid to support those affected by the conflict in Yemen and across the region as a result of this conflict. This includes 122,000 metric tons of additional food supplies, as well as emergency health care, nutrition services, shelter and safe drinking water.
The United States has mobilized a robust humanitarian response to the crisis in Yemen despite the complex and insecure operating environment. We urge our friends and partners around the world to follow our lead and help Yemen in its hour of greatest need.