HIGH LEVEL SIDE EVENT – YEMEN
22 September 2021
CARE INTERNATIONAL REGIONAL DIRECTOR
FOR THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished colleagues – I am honored to be at this crucial meeting to address the challenges of protecting and reaching the most vulnerable people of Yemen.
At a time when we are constantly reminded of hygiene and hand washing to protect against Covid-19, there are 15 million people in Yemen who lack basic services such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene to survive. 15 MILLION PEOPLE, meaning 50% of Yemen’s population.
I would like to give you a glimpse of how profoundly seven grinding years of conflict and displacement are impacting people’s lives. One telling statistic: 13% of the population today has no latrines. This is especially problematic for women and girls, like Jamilah, who is a widowed mother of four children. Her family lives in a one-room house with no latrine in Taiz. She told our team at CARE Yemen: “It is very embarrassing to defecate in the open during the daytime, so women have to resist the urge until the night when they can relieve themselves in the dark, away from people.” Urine retention from morning to night often causes infections leading to kidney failure. Elteham is another Yemeni widowed mother who developed a serious infection because of the lack of latrine. And the list of similar stories is endless…
Fortunately for some communities, with donor support we, at CARE, have been able to build latrines and improve people’s lives and dignity. But these represent a very small number compared to the overall needs. Water and Sanitation programming is only currently 9 per cent funded and without urgent mobilisation of funds, agencies will be forced to reduce life-saving related programmes IN A FEW DAYS.
The time to act is NOW. More than 20 million Yemenis need humanitarian assistance. Their lives are now at risk because of limited funding. Up until the moment I am speaking to you, slightly more than half of the needed funding for the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan has been received.
We understand that COVID-19 has caused global chaos and shifted priorities for many countries grappling with unexpected health challenges, but we need you to understand that Yemen is on the brink of a catastrophe.
With the deteriorating economic situation and the looming famine, we need to mobilize funds to provide critical and life-saving programmes from now onwards.
Ladies and gentlemen:
International Day of the Girl Child is just around the corner. It is a day to celebrate the resilience of girls. There are hundreds of thousands of Yemeni girls who need our help. We have a responsibility in ridding their world of violence, deprived menstrual health, denied education and famine. Your roles cannot be understated.
We are asking for three key actions:
- Donors who announced pledges at the High-Level Pledging Event on 1 March 2021 should immediately disperse them.
- The donor community should mobilise additional resources in the coming months to ensure humanitarian agencies’ capacity keeps pace with increasing needs on the ground and they can sustain life-saving programmes.
- The donor community should marshal additional resources to fund a concerted, multisectoral package of recovery and development programmes, building Yemen’s resilience to shocks in the medium to long term. This should not come at the expense of existing emergency programming.