Yemen is facing an extreme humanitarian crisis in the wake of three years of armed conflict. 22.2 million people – 75% of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 3 million people have been forced to leave their homes and remain displaced within their own country. The collapse of Yemen's healthcare system and the attacks suffered by the medical relief efforts have left vast numbers of people in need of medical care. Many children are unable to go to school and there is still a high risk of famine in a third of the country's districts.
In light of the deteriorating situation, Switzerland, Sweden and the United Nations held a pledging conference this morning in Geneva. The event brought together 61 countries and around 320 participants, including many representatives of international organisations and NGOs. It aimed to raise a large portion of the USD 2.96 billion needed by the UN to fund the humanitarian operations in Yemen this year. By the end of the conference, the participants had pledged USD 2.01 billion.
As host country, the Swiss Confederation was represented by its vice president, Ueli Maurer. Mr Maurer announced a contribution of CHF 13 million by the Swiss Confederation to support Swiss Humanitarian Aid efforts in Yemen. The bulk of Swiss Humanitarian Aid support will go to ICRC and WFP activities in water and sanitation, food security and protection of the civilian population.
Mr Maurer called on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law. He also underscored the obligation to protect civilians and public infrastructure, especially medical facilities, health workers, patients and humanitarian staff working to help those in need. Mr Maurer also called for rapid, continued, unrestricted, humanitarian access throughout the whole country. He insisted that all of the country's ports, including the airport in Sana'a, must be permanently reopened to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Switzerland reiterated its support for the peace process led by the UN. It called for a cessation of hostilities and for all parties to the conflict to come to the negotiating table to seek a solution to the conflict.
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