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Press Release

Yemen: Blockade is not over

As focus shifts to escalated fighting in capital, millions still suffer unnecessarily

Yemen has been grappling with a blockade on commercial shipments for one month today, preventing 80 percent of basic goods from reaching the 21 million people in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, the International Rescue Committee said today. Despite a partial ease of the blockade on November 22nd, the country is still under siege. Ports like Hodeida, where 80% of humanitarian and commercial goods enter the country, remain closed, and humanitarian and commercial imports remain a trickle at best.

In response to this and the December 4, 2017, release of UNOCHA’s Humanitarian Needs Overview, which paints a horrifying picture of humanitarian suffering inside Yemen, with millions more requiring assistance than just a year ago and nearly half of those in need (over 11M) who are in acute need of life-saving intervention, Paolo Cernuschi, Yemen country director at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said:

“These new numbers are unspeakable - over 80% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance -  but let’s be clear: these numbers are from before the blockade. The reality on the ground today is far worse. It was already a struggle to get aid and goods into the country, and delivered to those who need it, long before measures put in place by the Saudi-led coalition almost a month ago. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking these numbers will improve with last week’s partial ease of the blockade: Yemen is still under siege. The Saudi-led Coalition is still restricting commercial imports, and with humanitarian imports only trickling in we only expect things to get worse.

"The status quo ante created these dire conditions - it cannot reverse them. Only full, unfettered access can start to ameliorate the humanitarian catastrophe. And only a sustained end to the fighting alongside a political solution can end the suffering of millions.”

For the IRC’s statement on the continued violations of international law due to the blockade of Yemen, see here. 

About the IRC

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.