Addressing a high-profile pledging event for Yemen held in Geneva on Tuesday the 26th of February, Islamic Relief CEO Naser Haghamed spoke movingly about what has become the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.
“For the last four years, the people of Yemen have been subjected to a brutal cycle of violence, displacement, starvation and death,” he will tell the event in Geneva, which is hosted by the United Nations and the governments of Switzerland and Sweden.
“Almost all vital services and the economy have completely collapsed. Accessing even basic food staples like flour has become an unaffordable luxury for millions of people.
“Our staff have seen grown men carried into food distribution centres because they are too frail to stand and have grown delirious from thirst and hunger.
“Every single day we see hundreds of mothers bring their malnourished children into feeding centres, so weakened by hunger and preventable diseases like diarrhea that they are not sure if they will make it through the day.
“The needs are so huge that our staff are often working 18 hours a day, seven days a week, just so that at least some of these children who come in too weak to cry or even move will be given a fighting chance to recover.”
Two thirds of Yemen’s districts are at risk of famine, and some 15 million people are at risk of starvation.
To address this huge and unrelenting need, Islamic Relief will commit to spending $7.6million of the money donated to us by families worldwide to help the people of Yemen.
But sadly this is only a fraction of what is needed with the UN calling on the international community to provide $4 billion worth of aid to Yemen in 2019.
With more than 75 per cent of Yemen’s population – some 24 million people – in need of humanitarian assistance, Islamic Relief is on the ground in the conflict-torn country. We deliver shelter materials and healthcare and work with the World Food Programme to distribute food to almost two million people every month.
We work in 19 out of 22 governorates but to provide the life-saving aid that is so desperately needed in Yemen, our staff and volunteers face grave personal risks, Naser Haghamed will emphasise.
“Our battle to get aid to people who need it most is hampered every day by the extremely fragile security situation and the lack of humanitarian access. Last month, one of our aid workers was killed by a stray bullet while trying to deliver aid. He had simply stopped at a garage on the side of the road to change a tire, but in Yemen even the simplest of every-day tasks can prove deadly.”
Until the security situation improves, our aid workers will be left fearing for their lives on a daily basis. This is why, in addition to lifesaving aid, Islamic Relief’s CEO will urge the international community to take additional steps to stem the crisis.
“To stop Yemen from starving today, donors should also use their influence on parties to the conflict to ensure that our aid agencies have full, unfettered access to people in need.
“I call on all of you to do whatever you can to expand the fragile ceasefire throughout Yemen, do whatever is needed to ensure it is enforced and come together to seek a lasting political solution that will give the people of Yemen hope and dignity once again.”
With your support, we can continue helping vulnerable people in the war-torn country.
In 2019, we pledge to spend $7.6 from donors worldwide to reach more people in our global attempt to serve and support humanity.