‘Time to end the war in Yemen’: World Food Programme (WFP) Chief – Press Conference (12 March 2021)

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  • United Nations published this video item, entitled “‘Time to end the war in Yemen’: World Food Programme (WFP) Chief – Press Conference (12 March 2021)” – below is their description.

    The head of the World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley said it is time to end the war in Yemen and allow the Yemeni people to “move on with their lives” adding that the country is facing “the worst humanitarian crisis on Earth, period.”

    Speaking at a virtual press conference today (12 Mar) following a visit to the country, Beasley said the situation in Yemen is “catastrophic”, with 16 million people “literally in crisis emergency mode and five million that truly are knocking on the door of famine.” He stressed that if WFP didn’t get the money and fuel it needed, “we’re going to have probably the worst famine I know in my lifetime.”

    The WFP chief said he was pushing for peace as the answer and hoped that the Biden administration’s push would drive some solutions forward. He said while WFP moves fuel into the humanitarian sphere, this doesn’t include the food sector. He noted that WFP buys fuel from the commercial market because it has distribution points around the country.

    Beasley said, “I expressed to not just the United States but other major players around the world that this fuel blockade is going to create havoc, and we need to work through this immediately. When I was with the Houthis the day before yesterday, that was one of the primary subjects of discussion. They were gravely concerned about its impact, not just on the humanitarian sector, because you know there are 17 million people that we don’t assist by food out of the population of 30 million – because we support now approximately 13 million people. So, if the commercial side collapses because of the lack of fuel, then the humanitarian numbers will spike just as they would had the terrorist designation stayed on, you know to shut down the private sector. So, whether it was the designation or the fuel, you’re going to have some serious implications if the private sector doesn’t have fuel.”

    The WFP chief underscored that the world was witnessing so many catastrophes there is not enough money for all of them, and so it is more critical than ever to end some of these wars. He added, “We have 34 million people now literally at IPC level 4. That’s knocking on the door of famine. And that’s five billion dollars right there, off the top. We assisted 114 million people last year. So, you can imagine the financial demands this year beyond Yemen. I mean we can talk about Syria, DRC, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Sahel, Lebanon, or Jordan. I mean the demands are catastrophic right now and, you know, you turn on the media in the United States right now, it’s all about Harry and Meghan. I mean ok, that’s fine. But my God, I have people dying right now.”

    Beasley said a ceasefire would have tremendous impact on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. He said if all parties could move forward towards ceasefire it would reduce pressure to move forward and scale up biometrics operations. This would lead to increasing liquidity in the market which in turn would allow the Yemeni Riyal to increase in value and food prices to stabilize.

    He said, “Back to the bottom line, the politics, the man-made conflict, whichever side you want to put the blame on, it needs to end. And this is what I’m pushing with everybody. My job is not political, but at the same time, I’m pushing the political leaders to come to a solution to end this war. What’s at stake here? What are the consequences? How many people are suffering? And what’s this all about? It’s time to end the war. It’s time to allow the Yemenis to move on with their lives. This is the worst humanitarian crisis on Earth, period.”

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