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UN Envoy: Yemen’s Humanitarian Needs are Escalating

A glimpse of Sana'a, in Yemen A glimpse of Sana'a, in Yemen Saif Albadni on Unsplash

11 November 2021

The UN Security Council has been briefed by Special Envoy Hans Grundberg, who recently returned from inspecting humanitarian conditions in Yemen

Yemen is currently the site of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with around 20.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to BBC news. The UN Special Envoy, Mr. Hans Grundberg, has urged the UN Security Council to seek an end to the violence in Yemen, following his three-day visit to Taiz Governorate to assess conditions in the country.

Mr. Grundberg travelled to Taiz City, Turbah, and Mokha, where he met various stakeholders, discussed the necessity of ending the conflict, and engaged in a dialogue on the political, military, and economic conditions of the region. In particular, he wanted to engage with young Yemenis during his visit, and deliberated with them about how a UN-led political process can help to address the situation in Taiz as part of a sustainable solution to the conflict. Mr. Grundberg also met the local governor, Nabil Sahmsan, along with representatives of political parties, civil society, parliament, business and the press. 

Freedom of movement is restricted in the Taiz region, and militants target civilians in residential neighborhoods. As in other parts of Yemen, the deterioration of the economy and basic water and electricity infrastructure has severely affected civilians. According to the Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ramesh Rajasingham, at least 35,000 people have been forced to flee since September. The UN has called for a ceasefire, warning that an all-out battle could put two million civilians at risk and cause mass displacement. To date, aid agencies have received only 55 percent of the funding they expect to require this year. That money helped tackle famine and deliver other necessary outcomes but, Mr. Grundberg added, money is now running short.

In a separate statement, Mr. Grundberg condemned the car bomb attack of 9 November 2021 that killed one Yemeni journalist, Rasha Abdullah Al Harazi, who was pregnant at the time, and injured another journalist, Mrs. Hazri’s husband. The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, noted Mrs. Harazi had been a UNESCO trainee in 2019, and this kind of attack on journalists undermines freedom of expression and the media’s capacity to keep the public informed. Ms. Azoulay highlighted the particular importance of this in Yemen, saying that providing accurate information is a vital service in times of conflict, and essential to nourish public debate, countering hate, and contributing to conflict resolution.


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Author: Niranjana J Anil; Editor: Alexander James

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