Save the Children warns that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is likely to worsen in the coming weeks, putting thousands of children even more at risk of famine and disease, after the US government announced its decision to roll out a new terrorism designation on Ansar Allah, which are also the de facto authorities in North Yemen.
This designation could directly threaten the supply of life-saving food, fuel and medicine in Yemen, add hurdles to the humanitarian response and hinder efforts to end the conflict, at a time when new data shows that millions of people in the country are end closer to famine.
Janti Soeripto, President and CEO of Save the Children U.S., said:
“Humanitarian actors have been warning for weeks that the consequences of this decision could be disastrous for countless children and their families in Yemen, who barely survive. While we agree that the US intends to exempt certain humanitarian efforts and critical commercial goods such as food and medicine from sanctions, it should immediately clarify how such exemptions will work in practice. And even if there are exceptions, we need to be clear that these sanctions can still cause serious disruptions in Yemen's economy, which is already on the verge of collapse and putting many more vulnerable families at risk. "
With this new policy, the Trump administration has effectively banned certain interactions with the de facto authorities in the north. Many fear that companies, such as banks and shippers, will avoid working in Yemen for fear of violating US law, resulting in widespread shortages of food, fuel and essential medicines.
This designation comes at a particularly worrying point in the crisis in Yemen. Last month, recently released data showed that nearly 50,000 people could soon be living in "famine-like conditions" in Yemen. The data also shows that more than 20,000 children are already at risk of starving in early 2021, even without the US terrorism designation.
Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children UK said:
"This is a disastrous decision for Yemeni children. Before more children die, the UK must use the force of its pen at the UN Security Council to increase pressure to end the war immediately."
“Nearly ten years ago, the world watched in horror as the famine in Somalia claimed more than 250,000 lives. That famine was exacerbated by delays in aid due to policies that did not prioritize humanitarian needs. If we do not learn from history, we run the risk of condemning Yemeni children and their families to the same fate. "