Washington, DC – Today, the Friends Committee on National Legislation released a letter – signed by more than eighty other state and national organizations – stressing the importance of releasing all suspended USAID funding for Yemen.
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Prior to the onset of COVID-19, the suspension would have had dire consequences for Yemenis already suffering through the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Now, with the UN recording COVID cases throughout the country, the aid suspension threatens to exacerbate the virus’s toll where millions are already immunocompromised from years of war and near-starvation.
“This is the time to come together and save the Yemeni people from yet another outbreak. Without international aid, COVID19 will kill many people. We know that famine and other disease have compromised the immunity of the populations there and the war has destroyed their health system. The US bears responsibility for supporting the Saudi war on Yemen that created these dire circumstances,” said Aisha Jumaan, chair of Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation.
“It is unconscionable for the United States cut off humanitarian aid to Yemen in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic – especially after supporting the bombing of Yemeni hospitals. Regardless of Houthi activity, now is not the time for a blanket suspension of aid. Congress has the power to take immediate action and it’s clear that Yemen can’t wait any longer as it teeters on the edge of catastrophe. But time is running out and the fate of millions of innocent Yemenis hang in the balance,” said Hassan El-Tayyab, Legislative Manager for Middle East Policy at FCNL.
“At a time when the international community is banding together to offer global support for states in need, USAID cuts off aid to Yemen - amid a pandemic, an ongoing war, widespread disease, floods, and a famine. Aid cuts to over 80% of Yemen’s population under these conditions amount to economic warfare. Yemen is in need of more aid, not cuts. In order to save lives in Yemen, USAID must reinstate aid into Yemen immediately,” said Jehan Hakim, chair of Yemen Alliance Committee.
“It is beyond cruel for the Trump Administration to slash food and medical aid at the precise moment when the coronavirus is hitting Yemen,” said Erik Sperling, executive director of Just Foreign Policy. “The aid was already the bare minimum needed to keep millions from starvation due to the horrific US-backed Saudi-led war on Yemen. The US must reverse this policy that amounts to collective punishment of 70 percent of Yemenis simply because they happen to live in areas ruled by the other side in the conflict.”
“Through its role in the conflict, the U.S. has helped to decimate Yemen’s healthcare system and exacerbated what was already the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in the world — before COVID-19. It’s absolutely monstrous for the Trump administration to cut off assistance to those most in need and vulnerable in Yemen. This decision will only further people’s suffering and increase their susceptibility to this dangerous disease. Reinstating the aid is common-sense policy and the moral thing to do. The failure to do so will only make the U.S. further complicit in the death and destruction in Yemen that will be felt for decades to come,” said Kate Kizer, Policy Director at Win Without War.
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.