A new EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight has departed from Liège, Belgium, with medical and other essential supplies to reinforce the humanitarian response in Yemen. In total, over 220 tons of critical items are being delivered to the most vulnerable Yemenis. It has been facilitated by the collaborative efforts of Sweden and the EU.
This EU Humanitarian Air Bridge makes up for logistical challenges and restrictions in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, since the usual supply lines have been seriously affected. In addition, the EU is allocating an additional €70 million to scale up assistance across Yemen, bringing its humanitarian support in 2020 to €115 million.
Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: "This EU Air Bridge operation to Yemen is the largest of its kind since our flights to countries affected by the Coronavirus. The EU operation and additional funding show the urgency of helping the people of Yemen in their hour of need. The rapid spread of the Coronavirus in a country that is already dealing with the world's worst humanitarian crisis, is adding another layer of suffering. Aid must get through today, not tomorrow. I urge all parties to the conflict to abide by their international obligation to grant unhindered access to impartial humanitarian aid organisations so they can help the people of Yemen.”
The EU's Humanitarian Air Bridge to Yemen will transport urgent humanitarian cargo to both Aden and Sana'a and will run until early August. The supplies will benefit the Coronavirus response but also enable the continuation of other lifesaving humanitarian programmes by UN agencies, international non-governmental organisations and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.
EU-funded humanitarian actions in Yemen focus on emergency support to civilians affected by the conflict, including the response to acute malnutrition, food insecurity, natural disasters and epidemics.
The cooperation of all parties with the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies is crucial. Five years into the conflict, Yemen's crisis has hit rock bottom. At the start of 2020, 80 per cent of the population needed some form of humanitarian aid and protection. Decreased funding and increased access restrictions are now resulting in even higher levels of hardship and vulnerability. The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic in a country with collapsing health services and an economy in deep crisis, could give rise to famine.
Since the beginning of the conflict in 2015, the European Union has allocated €896 million to respond to the crisis in Yemen, including €554 million in humanitarian aid and €318 million in development assistance.
This has made it possible to deliver vital assistance including food, healthcare, education as well as water, shelter and hygiene kits. Even before the Coronavirus outbreak, preparedness and response to disease outbreaks was already a key focus of the EU's strategy for Yemen. To address the cholera and Coronavirus epidemics, the EU funds treatment centres and prevention activities.