Aden, Yemen, January 29, 2019 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is extremely concerned by intensifying clashes between warring parties inside Hodeidah city. While fighting inside the critical port city has dramatically decreased since warring parties agreed to a ceasefire at talks in Sweden last December, recent clashes demonstrate the extremely fragile state of the agreement. The IRC calls on the international community, especially the US and the UK, to capitalize on momentum made at the end of 2018 and pressure all warring parties to end the fighting and abide by the agreements made during peace talks in Stockholm. The Stockholm agreement was the first diplomatic breakthrough - and first source of hope for the Yemeni people - in nearly four years of fighting. Focused, engaged diplomacy yielded this milestone, and focused, engage diplomacy can save it.
Frank Mc Manus, Yemen Country Director at the International Rescue Committee said,
“Immediately following agreements made in Stockholm, the IRC and other aid agencies saw major improvements in the security situation inside the city, and an increase in access to populations in need. Throughout January, IRC’s mobile health teams have been able to operate in and around Hodeidah, however, in recent days with clashes erupting inside Hodeidah, and both parties accusing each other of violations, the agreement is increasingly in peril.
"The cost of the Hodeidah deal collapsing cannot be overstated. Almost ten million people are on the brink of starvation in Yemen, and fighting in the city and disruptions to imports through the port could propel the country into a full-fledge famine. The ceasefire provides not only the first steps required to address this humanitarian crisis, but also for further political agreements needed to end the war. The people of Yemen are paying the highest price for a war they do not want and now those with the power to put an end to it must act.
"The end of 2018 and early 2019 saw more diplomatic pressure to end the war than at any point in the four year conflict with the Stockholm agreement and the first UN Security Council resolutions on the crisis in four years. We cannot let this work be for naught. Those with influence and relationships with the warring parties, including the US, UK, EU and Germany should work to collectively end all fighting inside Hodeidah governorate effective immediately. In Stockholm, warring parties agreed to further talks. As fighting continues to escalate around Yemen, the IRC calls on the international community to encourage warring parties to return to the negotiating table to save the Hodeidah ceasefire and extend the ceasefire nationwide. Salaries for public health workers and essential civil servants must be paid and Sana’a airport must be reopened to humanitarian and commercial. Anything less than this will mean the loss of innocent lives and the continued suffering of the Yemeni people.”
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.