European Interest

EU steps up support to displaced and crisis-affected communities in Yemen

Author: Almigdad Mojalli/VOA
Yemeni capital Sanaa after airstrikes, 9 October 2015.

The European Union has adopted a €30 million programme in support of vulnerable communities suffering the effects of prolonged displacement in Yemen.

This brings the total EU development assistance to Yemen in 2018 to €71 million. This longer-term support aims to preserve the social fabric, provide increased livelihood opportunities and enhance food and nutrition security. The overall EU commitment in support to resilience and development in Yemen now stands at €244 million since the start of the conflict in 2015.

The conflict in Yemen continues to escalate, resulting in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world with unprecedented levels of hunger and poverty, and the spread of preventable diseases. An estimated 22.2 million people in Yemen (out of 28 million total population) need some kind of humanitarian and/or protection assistance, including 11.3 million who are in acute need. An estimated 17.8 million people in the country are food insecure.

The package will address the urgent needs of internally displaced populations and vulnerable host communities in Yemen by providing basic services in health, education, protection and legal counselling. It will also help build the capacities of local institutions responsible for monitoring population flows.

“The prolonged crisis in Yemen has devastated the lives of millions. Close to 18 million Yemenis don’t have their daily meals secured. More than 3 million have had to flee their homes in fear for their lives – some of them only to be displaced a second or third time. The EU is deploying all the instruments available to it in support of the UN-led peace process in Yemen. This new package of assistance will help displaced Yemenis to rebuild their livelihoods and overcome the current crisis,” said Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica.

Together with the €41 million package adopted in October 2018, this measure is part of the EU’s comprehensive response to build socio-economic resilience and strengthen the food and nutrition security in a country ravaged by years of violent conflict, hunger and epidemics. This new support complements the ongoing first phase of the Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen Programme – a flagship initiative supported by the EU since the beginning of the current crisis to sustain the capacity for resilience of ordinary Yemenis, whose livelihoods and community services have been devastated over the past three years.

These actions are in line with the Council Conclusions on Yemen of 25 June 2018, which put particular emphasis on the situation of vulnerable communities affected by the on-going hostilities and the humanitarian crisis. Throughout 2018, the European Union also allocated €118 million in humanitarian aid for Yemen.

While the EU is among the top humanitarian donors to the country, playing a humanitarian role is not enough in the current context. This is why EU assistance also looks beyond the immediate humanitarian needs – which are huge and complex – and considers measures aimed at preserving community resilience and strengthening the ability of ordinary citizens to weather the current crisis.

With an ongoing development portfolio of €244 million, the EU is among the leading development donors in Yemen. EU development programmes cover the fields of food and nutrition security, building the resilience of communities through livelihoods, cash assistance and micro-finance initiatives. The EU is also supporting Yemen’s fragile health infrastructure, fighting malnutrition, and working to create a Community Health Workers Network, helping prevent the country’s system from collapsing.

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