The Best Humanitarian Relief is to End the Conflict

New York, N.Y. Concluding a three-day mission to Yemen, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator today called on all warring parties to grant humanitarian access and uphold their responsibilities to protect civilians in a conflict that has injured and killed thousands of innocent civilians, and displaced some three million people.

10-04-2016obrienStephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (left),
during a visit to Al Hudaydah hospital in Yemen. Photo: OCHA Yemen.

“The best humanitarian relief that can be provided is an end to the conflict. I urged the authorities, as I urge other parties to the conflict, to return to political negotiations without delay to reach a negotiated solution,” Stephen O’Brien, who is also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital.

The conflict shattered the civilian infrastructure, and destroyed livelihoods in a country which was already suffering from endemic poverty.

Violence against aid workers and civilians continues to characterize the conflict in Yemen. On 3 October, 10 civilians including six children were killed while 17 others were injured, reportedly due to shrapnel of a shell. Since March 2015, 13 health workers have died and 31 have been injured. More than 70 health centres have been damaged or destroyed by conflict.

In this situation, four out of five Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance. “In the 21st century, that is outrageous by any measure,” he said, expressing a concern particularly about the healthcare system as most of the facilities in 16 out of 22 governorates are either not functioning or only partially functioning. This denies thousands of Yemenis access to much needed essential health services, he added.

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The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org). There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.