Minister Kitir wants more attention for the crisis in Yemen

On Monday March 1, a donor conference on Yemen was organized by the UN in cooperation with Sweden and Switzerland. Minister for Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir announced a contribution of €5 million to support the Yemen Humanitarian Fund. "It is important that we continue to pay attention to the needs of ordinary Yemenis who are suffering greatly from this humanitarian crisis that has now lasted for more than six years," Kitir said. "This is the time to show international solidarity."

During a preparatory meeting with Muna Luqman, founder of the organization Food4Humanity and co-founder of Woman Solidarity Network, the Minister received an account of the situation in the country. Muna emphasized the resilience of the Yemeni people and the important role women play in this process.

 
Humanitarian crisis

Yemen is in one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The UN warns that more than 16 million people in the country will go hungry by 2021. Of these, 5 million are on the brink of famine. 20.5 million of Yemen's more than 29 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. 15 million have no or limited access to water and sanitation. A lack of fuel has a major impact on health facilities, which are only 45% operational across the country.

Minister Meryame Kitir: "Behind these huge numbers are people. We must not forget them. This crisis was created by a political conflict but ordinary Yemenis are paying the price. The international community has a role to play here and Belgium is also doing its part."

Minister Kitir also spoke with Muna Luqman, founder of the organization Food4Humanity and co-founder of Woman Solidarity Network. She pointed out the current food shortage in the country."There is food in Yemen, but people can't afford it. They have not received a salary in four years and have to survive. It is unseen how in this conflict food supplies are used as a weapon". Muna herself also did very much to help people in her community in Yemen. "The solidarity in Yemen is great. Everyone helps everyone. Women play a big role in this. All over the country they take initiatives, even though Yemen is a patriarchal society."

 
Belgian contribution

During the conference, Belgium announced a €5 million contribution for the Yemen Humanitarian Fund. This fund is coordinated by OCHA and is accessible to UN agencies and international and local organizations in Yemen.

In addition to this contribution, work is also underway with humanitarian partners on the ground such as the World Food Programme (WFP) - which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year -, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and OCHA, the UN entity that coordinates the response to humanitarian crises. A 3-year commitment is currently being established with them to secure global aid. Yemen is obviously a priority for them.

Minister Kitir: "Financial aid is important. But the people of Yemen need more. They urgently need an end to the conflict." Belgium advocated in the UN Security Council for humanitarian access and respect for international humanitarian law. Belgium supports the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen. Minister Kitir also stressed during the conference that Yemen must not become a forgotten crisis. She wants to put the people of Yemen at the center of her policies and empower them.

"This is the time to show international solidarity. Especially in these COVID-19 times that are felt even more harshly in a country like Yemen, we must take action. In doing so, I want to be results-oriented. The aid must reach the people. Women like Muna can make a difference in this regard."