Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on Additional U.S. Humanitarian Aid for Yemen
The United States today announced over $89 million in new humanitarian aid to help people affected by the ongoing conflict in Yemen, where escalating violence has left 80 percent of the country’s population in need of urgent aid. This new funding will provide emergency food assistance, safe drinking water, improved sanitation, emergency shelter, life-saving medical care, nutrition services, and protection for vulnerable populations. It includes nearly $32 million in food assistance. This latest commitment brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for this crisis to nearly $170 million in fiscal year 2015. The United States provided nearly $114 million in fiscal year 2014, and we remain the largest donor of food assistance to Yemen.
This announcement comes as nearly 13 million people in Yemen are facing food shortages, and if current conditions persist, more will struggle to meet their food needs over the coming months. Across the country, 1.8 million children are likely to suffer from some form of malnutrition in 2015 — 1 million more children than last year.
U.S. assistance will be delivered by our implementing partners through Yemen's sea and airports and through distribution networks inside the country. King Salman of Saudi Arabia this month at the White House committed to work with the Coalition and international partners to allow for unfettered access to assistance, including fuel, to the impacted people of Yemen. King Salman also committed to enabling the reopening of Yemen's Red Sea ports to humanitarian and commercial traffic; this will be one critical element of restoring the vital imports that provide the bulk of the country's food, fuel, and other life-sustaining supplies. Consistent with these commitments, we look forward to all parties allowing unfettered access to Yemen's ports and airports, respecting the neutrality of humanitarian workers, and allowing them to travel safely in all parts of the country and cross battle-lines in order to meet the urgent needs of the Yemeni people.
The United States continues to support efforts by United Nations Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to bring together Yemenis to de-escalate the conflict, which will also significantly help the humanitarian situation. We were disappointed by recent statements that suggested that UN-facilitated peace talks might be delayed. It is clear that the Yemeni people want the fighting to end as soon as possible. Consistent with the Security Council’s statement last week, we again call on all parties to participate in these peace talks without any preconditions.