The Yemeni government is seeking to develop a mechanism to deal with the worsening humanitarian crisis, while the International Committee of the Red Cross joined organizations that expressed fear of stalling relief efforts after Washington classified the Houthi group on the list of terrorism.
Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik issued a decision to form a committee to develop a mechanism for dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, as the Yemeni News Agency stated that the committee will facilitate the work of relief agencies and international humanitarian organizations, to enable them to carry out their tasks during the coming period.
Meanwhile, Dominic Stilhart, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that the committee urges states that impose such measures – referring to the United States – to consider “humanitarian exceptions”, to mitigate any negative impact on the population and on neutral aid.
He added that the Red Cross is increasingly concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen, as it is conducting its second largest operation in the world, as civilians suffer from highly contagious diseases, hunger and high food prices.
“The increased operational risks and the possibility that the banking sector and the private sector will try to avoid risks due to the classification may ultimately restrict humanitarian work in Yemen,” he said.
Earlier, Reuters reported that UN aid official Martin Lowcock would urge the United States today, Thursday, to reverse its decision, warning that this step would drag the country into “famine on a scale not seen for nearly 40 years.”
Lowcock will also say in a planned briefing before the UN Security Council that aid agencies cannot replace the commercial import system, and he will stress that commercial imports are essential to ensuring that millions have access to food.
It will also indicate data that 16 million Yemenis will suffer from hunger this year, that there are already about 50,000 starving, and that 5 million are one step away from them.
On Wednesday, the United Nations World Food Program warned of “grave consequences” for the United States’ intention to designate the Houthi group a “terrorist organization.”
And Scott Paul, the humanitarian affairs officer for the Oxfam charity in the United States, had previously appealed to President-elect Joe Biden to revoke this designation as soon as he assumed power.
The Norwegian Refugee Council also urged the US government last Monday to provide “clear protection measures and guarantees” to ensure that sanctions do not impede relief efforts. The European Union also condemned the US decision on Tuesday, saying that it would impede the peace efforts led by the United Nations.
And the US State Department announced in a statement last Sunday its intention to classify the Houthis as a “terrorist organization” and to impose sanctions on its leader, Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi, and its leaders, Abdul-Khaliq Al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahya Al-Hakim.