29 August 2019 - Yemen

‘People on the ground are terrified’ as violence escalates in Yemen

Jason Lee, Acting Country Director of Save the Children in Yemen, said:

“Save the Children remains deeply concerned about the situation of children and their families in the southern governorates of Yemen, especially in the port city of Aden.

“Staff on the ground tell us that people are terrified. The situation escalated so quickly that they didn't have the chance to evacuate their homes or get supplies like food or clean water, and shops have closed. The situation is very tense; people are scared of what will happen next. Warplanes were heard while shelling and bombs exploded on the ground – bombs that kill, maim and destroy indiscriminately.

“These are extremely scary circumstances for adults to be in, let alone for children. They have no part in this devastating conflict that has been ravaging the country for over four years now, but they are suffering from the violence every day. They have been injured, they have seen their parents, siblings or friends killed, been displaced, their schools have been destroyed or closed.

“The recent escalation of violence in Aden is a clear indication that once more, political and military interests are overriding the well-being and safety of the Yemeni people. Since 28thAugust, Aden airport has been temporarily closed, and flights suspended. Moreover, the port of Aden is vital for the import and distribution of basic supplies and services across Yemen, and insecurity threatens its operation. It is highly concerning that vital lifelines, both by air and sea, are at risk of being cut off.

Save the Children is calling for parties in Aden to show restraint and de-escalate tensions for the sake of the approximately 1,1 million civilians living in Aden, of whom some 70 percent is already in need of support.  Further, we call on the parties involved to take all measures to protect civilians, which include withdrawing from populated areas, and to refrain from using explosive weapons in populated areas. They should also allow access to humanitarian organisations who can provide necessary assistance to communities who rely on aid for survival.”

 

 

Notes to editors:

  • Aden airport is one of only two international airports open for commercial use in Yemen.
  • Through the first half of 2019, Save the Children supported 206,000 people in Aden– more than half of whom are children through programmes designed to keep children safe, healthy and educated. 
  • These activities stand to be constrained without staff and beneficiaries being able to move freely and safely.  It is important the NGOs and civilians have unhindered access to all parts of Yemen to address needs where they exist.