Ahead of Yemen donor conference, IRC calls for urgent diplomatic and funding surge to stem the conflict and pandemic

New York, NY, June 1, 2020 — David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said:

“Yemen’s health care system has nearly collapsed under the strain of five years of brutal war and now the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, many of which are going untested and undetected. Yemen has the lowest testing ability of any country where we work, with a case fatality ratio of 24.7%, almost four times the global average. COVID-19 cases were likely spreading and misdiagnosed in February, and now, we are seeing the results of a war-torn country’s inability to stop a global pandemic from wreaking even more havoc on its people.

“This is the time for donors to step up, not to look away. Ahead of tomorrow’s donor pledging conference, the IRC is calling for a rapid increase in funding to frontline agencies to help us scale up the COVID-19 response and continue to provide the humanitarian assistance that we know saves lives. Despite the outbreak, the IRC continues to deliver urgent healthcare and nutrition to those displaced by the war and people living in remote, hard-to-reach areas, and reproductive healthcare to pregnant and lactating women. We are also continuing to provide critical support to women impacted by gender-based violence.

“It is shameful that throughout all this, the bombing and shelling continue. The warring parties have shown total disregard for Yemenis caught up in this terrible war. In a conflict characterised by egregious violations of international law that have left hospitals and schools destroyed and killed thousands of civilians, it is vital that international actors like the US, UK and France, who have influence over the warring parties, continue to push them to agree to an immediate nationwide ceasefire and return to political negotiations to end the war. Only then will we be able to put an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people, stop the spread of COVID-19, and reach those most in need with life-saving care.”


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