Joint UNICEF, WFP, WHO Statement on Yemen

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Joint UNICEF, WFP and WHO Statement on Yemen

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

After visiting the war-torn country, assessing dire conditions firsthand, UNICEF, World Food Program and World Health Organization executive directors issued a joint statement.

They explained what they saw, urged international action to address a catastrophe of biblical proportions.

Devastating daily terror-bombing, famine and the worst cholera epidemic in modern times stalks Yemen, millions of lives endangered – the horror largely ignored by media scoundrels.

An entire population is being strangled, held hostage to US imperial aims, complicit with Riyadh doing its dirty work, Trump escalating what Obama began.

Genocide by war, blockade, untreated diseases, and deprivation threatens millions of Yeminis.

Conditions are more dire than in all other US war theaters, the scale of human suffering incomprehensible, the death toll far greater than officially reported – likely tens of thousands, largely civilians, after over two years of devastating war.

The UNICEF, WFP and WHO statement was as follows:

“As the heads of three United Nations agencies…we have travelled together to Yemen to see for ourselves the scale of this humanitarian crisis and to step up our combined efforts to help the people of Yemen.”

“This is the world’s worst cholera outbreak in the midst of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. In the last 3 months alone, 400,000 cases of suspected cholera and nearly 1,900 associated deaths have been recorded.”

“Vital health, water, and sanitation facilities have been crippled by more than 2 years of hostilities, and created the ideal conditions for diseases to spread.”

“The country is on the brink of famine, with over 60% of the population not knowing where their next meal will come from.”

“Nearly 2 million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished. Malnutrition makes them more susceptible to cholera; diseases create more malnutrition. A vicious combination.”

“At one hospital, we visited children who can barely gather the strength to breathe. We spoke with families overcome with sorrow for their ill loved ones and struggling to feed their families.”

“And, as we drove through the city, we saw how vital infrastructure, such as health and water facilities, have been damaged or destroyed.”

“Amid this chaos, some 16,000 community volunteers go house to house, providing families with information on how to protect themselves from diarrhea and cholera. Doctors, nurses, and other essential health staff are working around the clock to save lives.”

“More than 30,000 health workers haven’t been paid their salaries in more than 10 months, but many still report for duty.”

“We have asked the Yemeni authorities to pay these health workers urgently because, without them, we fear that people who would otherwise have survived may die.”

“As for our agencies, we will do our best to support these extremely dedicated health workers with incentives and stipends.”

“We also saw the vital work being done by local authorities and NGOs, supported by international humanitarian agencies, including our own.”

“We have set up more than 1,000 diarrhea treatment centers and oral rehydration corners. The delivery of food supplements, intravenous fluids, and other medical supplies, including ambulances, is ongoing, as is the rebuilding of critical infrastructure – the rehabilitation of hospitals, district health centers, and the water and sanitation network.”

“We are working with the World Bank in an innovative partnership that responds to needs on the ground and helps maintain the local health institutions.”

“But there is hope. More than 99% of people who are sick with suspected cholera and who can access health services are now surviving.”

“And the total number of children who will be afflicted with severe acute malnutrition this year is estimated at 385,000.”

“However, the situation remains dire. Thousands are falling sick every day. Sustained efforts are required to stop the spread of disease. Nearly 80% of Yemen’s children need immediate humanitarian assistance.”

“When we met with Yemeni leaders – in Aden and in Sana’a – we called on them to give humanitarian workers access to areas affected by fighting. And we urged them – more than anything – to find a peaceful political solution to the conflict.”

“The Yemeni crisis requires an unprecedented response. Our 3 agencies have teamed up with the Yemeni authorities and other partners to coordinate our activities in new ways of working to save lives and to prepare for future emergencies.”

“We now call on the international community to redouble its support for the people of Yemen. If we fail to do so, the catastrophe we have seen unfolding before our eyes will not only continue to claim lives but will scar future generations and the country for years to come.”

The only solution is world community action to stop devastating war and blockade, the root cause of crisis conditions – followed by delivering enough humanitarian aid as long as needed.

Otherwise millions of Yemenis could perish if endless conflict continues.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.