Displaced civilians in Yemen

GENEVA – More than 21 million people – two in three Yemeni children, women, and men – need assistance and protection, the UN chief said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was speaking at a conference in Geneva – hosted by Switzerland and Sweden – where an appeal for USD4.3 billion was made to support the most vulnerable people in Yemen.

"We ended last year with a measure of hope for the future of Yemen," Guterres said. "After years of death, displacement, destruction, starvation, and suffering, the truce delivered real dividends for people."

He said civilian flights resumed from Yemen's capital Sanaa and vital supplies arrived through the port of Hudaydah.

"But the truce lapsed though after only six months," the UN chief said, noting that Yemen's economy is in enormous difficulties and essential services risk collapsing.

"And humanitarian needs continue to soar while access is constrained, and funding perennially falls short," Guterres added.

Separately, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said although 2022 witnessed some promising developments in Yemen, its conflict is entering its eighth year with no apparent long-term resolution.

The ICRC said despite a months-long truce, Yemen remains in a precarious situation, with essential infrastructure in tatters and two-thirds of its people entirely drained by a lack of access to basic needs.

Worrying development

Funding shortages risk "turbo-charging" Yemen's humanitarian woes from bad to worse, the Red Cross said.

"For the first time in 11 years, the operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Yemen were underfunded last year," Robert Mardini, ICRC's director-general, said.

"This is a worrying development which, if not reversed, will undermine the progress of neutral and impartial humanitarian action," Mardini added.

The Red Cross said 21.6 million people in Yemen need humanitarian assistance and protection.

It said many families are now selling remaining possessions to afford a meal.

Education has been disrupted for millions of children, and 4 million people remain displaced.

The ICRC said the direct effects of climate change are palpable, as 2022 saw a prolonged drought followed by heavy floods that further exhausted the remaining coping mechanisms.

"Each year that passes without a political resolution makes a recovery from the conflict more difficult. Even if a durable settlement were reached, humanitarian needs would remain high for years," Mardini said.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. (Anadolu)