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Statement to the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Response in Yemen

Speeches and statements

Statement to the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Response in Yemen

2 June 2020

Ministers, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen

Thanks AbduIlah and thanks to Mark as well.

I concur with previous analyses and join Mark Lowcock and others in calling for urgent, substantial and flexible financial support, or else we will be simply unable to sustain the humanitarian effort.

Since general points have been made, I will focus on a few issues that are specific to the work of UNHCR.

The protection crisis is becoming dramatic. This year, as we heard, over 80,000 people have already been forced to flee their homes due to conflict. COVID-19 has now caused stigmatisation of populations on the move and loss of daily income, pushing refugees and displaced Yemenis further into the margins of society. This includes physical attacks and psychological trauma.

Last year, UNHCR’s multi-purpose cash programme was the largest cash support for the displaced in Yemen, complemented by our critical protection services, including legal support and services for survivors of violence. We have in place robust safeguards and oversight measures on cash distributions, enabling UNHCR and partners to target those most in need and support them in line with humanitarian principles.

As the lead agency for the Protection, Shelter and Camp Management Clusters, we continue to provide emergency shelter and basic household kits to families internally displaced. We have also identified the most-at-risk of the 1,700 IDP sites in relation to COVID-19, and coordinate with partners to ensure availability of basic services, such as WASH and health.

We have done our utmost to ensure we assist the most vulnerable. However, we cannot go further without more support.

Despite a number of generous contributions, UNHCR still requires 148 million USD in 2020 to secure life-saving protection and assistance to IDPs, refugees, and asylum-seekers and their hosting communities. In addition, over 40 million USD is still urgently needed for the COVID-19 emergency response in the country. Without funding, people in need will not have the means to get food, medicine, or find shelter. As of this month, we have started to reduce our regular cash interventions because of limited funds, immediately affecting 25,000 IDP and 6,000 refugee families.

In conclusion, we remain committed to ‘stay and deliver’. And besides funding, I wish to join other speakers and especially Secretary-General António Guterres in reminding all of the other condition to be effective: to have safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian partners.  Bearing in mind of course that only a peaceful resolution of the conflict can halt further suffering for millions of people.