This year the Netherlands will again contribute to the humanitarian response to address the acute needs of Yemen’s population. In addition, Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, is supporting the UN-led political process aimed at peace and reconstruction in Yemen.
According to the UN, Yemen is suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Some 24 million people – 80% of the population – are reliant on aid. And the situation is still deteriorating. ‘The level of human suffering in Yemen is without precedent. Around 12 million people are entirely dependent on food aid. It beggars belief that Yemen’s population is still threatened by famine,’ commented Ms Kaag.
On Tuesday she participated in an international conference in Geneva at which countries pledged funding to alleviate the suffering in Yemen. ‘This year the government will make over €13 million available for life-saving humanitarian aid in Yemen,’ announced the minister. The money will be spent via the United Nations and Dutch organisations on food aid, medical care, clean water, sanitation, protection and shelter.
The Netherlands is also allocating €2 million to UN activities supporting the peace process in Yemen. They involve implementing an agreement reached in Stockholm at the end of last year, and the reconstruction of hospitals, schools, and electricity and water infrastructure.
‘Only a political solution under the UN’s leadership can bring this crisis to an end,’ said Ms Kaag. In a meeting with Yemen’s prime minister, Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, she stressed the need for all parties to comply with international humanitarian law and ensure unhampered access to the lifesaving aid that is so desperately needed. She also spoke of the importance of an inclusive political process in which more women are given an active role.
Minister Kaag also hosted a meeting in Geneva on the need for psychosocial assistance for people affected by violence and conflict in countries like Yemen. ‘Often the focus is exclusively on aid such as food, water and tents, but people also need help coming to terms with the harrowing events they have experienced.’
The Netherlands is leading efforts to garner more attention for mental health and psychosocial support in crisis situations, and is holding an international conference on this issue in Amsterdam in October.