The United Nations considers the situation in Yemen to be the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world. According to United Nations estimates, more than three-quarters of the population are dependent on humanitarian aid, while half of the country’s children are chronically malnourished and have no access to clean drinking water.
There has recently been movement in the political process. For the first time in years, the Yemeni parties to the conflict conducted direct talks and reached initial agreement on some points at the end of 2018, for example on a ceasefire for Hudaydah and on the exchange of prisoners. However, the supply situation remains highly precarious for millions of people. Speaking during his trip to Africa, Foreign Minister Maas said:
We cannot and will not turn a blind eye to the suffering of the people in Yemen.
Germany’s contribution: humanitarian assistance to the tune of 100 million euros this year
In the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, the United Nations has uncovered the scale of need: some 4.2 billion US dollars for 2019. At a pledging conference in Geneva on 26 February, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued a pressing appeal to the international community to make available additional funding.
For the current year, Germany has pledged funds of 100 million euros for humanitarian assistance in Yemen and is thus the second largest bilateral donor from outside the region after Britain. Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, headed Germany’s delegation at the conference:
Germany is making a significant contribution to overcome the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Humanitarian assistance has the most effect when all donors coordinate their actions.
Germany is providing reliable help: firm plans have been made for 39 million euros.
The German engagement focuses on emergency food aid, healthcare and projects in the sphere of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as on guaranteeing humanitarian protection. Firm plans have been made for some 39 million euros, so more than a third of the funding is already making a difference.
Through its membership of the United Nations Security Council, Germany is also working to guarantee unhindered access for aid workers and goods. Foreign Minister Maas said:
Likewise, the protection of the civilian population and infrastructure must be assured. That also specifically includes staff and institutions providing humanitarian and medical care to the suffering people. However, in the long term the only remedy is to work with perseverance to find a political solution, as complex as the conflict in Yemen is.
Germany is committed to supporting the political process to bring lasting peace to Yemen. Stabilisation and development cooperation are also being continued.