Tribune. On January 10, 2021, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo decided to list the Yemeni group Ansar Allah, assuming the “de facto” administration of northern Yemen, and more commonly known as name of Houthis. This decision will have devastating humanitarian consequences on a civilian population already extremely weakened by several years of war and in a situation of food insecurity close to famine.
The country’s economy has experienced a catastrophic slowdown in recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, making food and basic necessities unaffordable for most households. Currently, 24 million people in Yemen need food assistance to survive. It is now estimated that the number of people living in a situation close to famine would be 16,500 people and that this figure could reach 47,000 between January and June 2021.
More broadly, nearly five million people are at risk of suffering from acute food insecurity in the coming months. These are the worst projections of the past two years in the country and the reality could be much worse. We can no longer count the examples of families presenting themselves to NGOs after losing work and all sources of income and facing the greatest difficulties.
A risk of closure of humanitarian agencies
The Trump administration’s decision risks further complicating, if not impossible, our work in the north of the country and the provision of essential humanitarian aid to millions of Yemenis. If the Trump administration’s decision to put the Houthis on the list of terrorist organizations is confirmed in the coming days, humanitarian agencies may have to close their offices in the north of the country, under Houthi control and where 70% of people live. population.
Indeed, this will prevent or severely limit our ability to transfer funds to the country to finance our projects, pay our employees or buy equipment on site necessary for the proper functioning of our operations. With such a decision, we could also be prosecuted for having discussed with the authorities of the areas where we intervene, while the very essence of our work, confirmed by international humanitarian law, is to be able to speak to everyone, in a neutral and independent, to help those in need.
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