World Humanitarian Day 2022
19 August 2022
In Yemen, humanitarian workers save lives every day
Sana’a, 19 August 2022 – Each year, the United Nations and aid agencies mark World Humanitarian Day on 19 August to advocate for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers. On this World Humanitarian Day, we recognize that just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a whole community to help people in need.
Aid workers in Yemen – more than 95 per cent of whom are Yemenis – ensure that 12.6 million people on average receive humanitarian assistance or protection support every month. But they operate in an extremely challenging environment. They are too often subjected to threats to their safety and well-being, even as they work to save lives and reduce suffering every day.
This year has seen an alarming increase in attacks on aid workers in Yemen. The first half of 2022 saw an aid worker killed, two injured, seven kidnapped and nine detained. There were 27 incidents of threat and intimidation between January and June, compared with 17 such incidents recorded all of last year. There were also 28 carjacking incidents recorded in the first six months of the year, 17 more than in 2021. Twenty-seven attacks against aid organizations’ premises and facilities – including the looting of humanitarian supplies and other assets – were recorded in the first half of 2022, also more than in the whole of 2021.
In recent months, aid workers have been targets of disinformation and incitement, including false allegations that they corrupt Yemeni values, including the morals of young women. Such baseless allegations jeopardize the safety and security of humanitarian workers, especially Yemeni female aid workers at a time when women and girls are experiencing increased levels of violence and a rollback of their rights in many parts of the globe.
“Violence and threats against humanitarian workers undermine the delivery of aid, further jeopardizing the lives of those most in need,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, David Gressly. “Aid workers in Yemen deserve to be celebrated for their selfless dedication.”
While the UN-brokered truce has provided tangible relief to civilians since going into effect in April and deserves full backing, more than seven years of conflict and economic collapse continue to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis. More than 23 million people need some form of humanitarian assistance or protection. The number of people that are food insecure is projected to increase to 19 million by December. The malnutrition rate among women and children is among the highest in the world and a third of the 4.3 million internally displaced people in Yemen continue to live under dire conditions. Without the tireless commitment of humanitarians in Yemen, the situation would be far worse.
“Aid workers in Yemen remain unwavering in their mission. These selfless women and men continue to step up to every day, providing millions of people in need with food and cash, health services and clean water, protection and emergency education,” Mr. Gressly said. “We should all do everything we can to protect them and support their critical work.”