Statement by WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran on Humanitarian Situation in Yemen

Published on 24 November 2009

As the holiday of Eid al-Adha approaches, our thoughts are with tens of thousands of displaced people in northern Yemen who will not be able to celebrate Eid in their own homes.

The United Nations World Food Programme and partners such as Islamic Relief and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) have been working tirelessly to ensure that displaced Yemen is have access to humanitarian assistance and especially food.

Since the conflict in northern Yemen re-erupted in August, we have distributed more than 2,000 metric tons of food to more than 100,000 people across Sa’ada, Hajjah, Amran, and Al Jawf governorates.

While access has been difficult, and thousands of families remain trapped by the fighting, we have opened up new supply routes, including bringing assistance across the border from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In this way, we reached some 10,000 hungry  people in the border district of Baqim. A second convoy to the area is on its way,  transporting food assistance for the increasing numbers of hungry.

We are still worried about the situation in Sa’ada town, which has been virtually cut off from the rest of the world for more than three months now, and we are calling for localized humanitarian ceasefires and humanitarian corridors to allow for safe and uninterrupted access to families who remain trapped by the conflict so that further displacement and suffering can be avoided.