Emergency aid for the Yemeni people

The Dutch government will provide aid to the suffering people of Yemen, development minister Sigrid Kaag announced today at the international conference on Yemen in Geneva. ‘The population of Yemen is at the heart of the biggest humanitarian crisis that the world is currently facing,’ the minister said. ‘More than 22 million people urgently need emergency aid.’ The government has made €16.8 million available.

Three years ago this month, a civil war broke out in Yemen, with devastating consequences: more than 10,000 fatalities, 8 million people close to starvation and 15 million people without access to clean drinking water, sanitation or basic healthcare. ‘This puts them at serious risk of life-threatening epidemics,’ Ms Kaag said. Last year 2,200 people in Yemen died from cholera.

In her statement Ms Kaag stressed that only a political solution between the parties to the conflict will put an end to the human suffering. She also called for the full and sustained opening of Al Hudaydah port and Sana’a airport for humanitarian aid supplies. The Netherlands has been pressing for this in the UN Security Council and elsewhere for several years now.

International inquiry

As well as providing €54 million worth of humanitarian aid since 2016, the Netherlands has supported the Yemeni people in other ways. At the initiative of the Netherlands and several other countries, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to hold an international inquiry into human rights abuses in Yemen. ‘This inquiry is needed to address impunity in Yemen, hold the guilty parties to account and foster reconciliation,’ Ms Kaag said. A team of experts has already begun the inquiry.

The meeting today in Geneva brought together representatives of all UN members states and several international organisations to discuss the Yemeni crisis. Several countries, including countries in the region, pledged large amounts.