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EU can learn from GCC's united response in Yemen

posted on 09/10/2015: 857 views


A UAE paper has said that the world cannot endure another refugee crisis from Yemen while it is dealing with a migrant movement of epic proportions arising out of Syria. GCC countries are moving quickly to mobilise humanitarian aid to prevent an exodus from Yemen.

"The Gulf has a historical connection to the Yemenis, and it is important to secure the future of millions of people affected by conflict. There is widespread hunger and starvation," said Khaleej Times in an editorial yesterday.

The local healthcare system is on its last legs. Ordinary Yemenis deserve peace and security and the GCC is committed to their well being and development, unlike the EU, which is squabbling over refugees on its shores.

The UAE has taken the lead and is already rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by years of conflict. But the immediate goal is to ensure that no Yemeni man, woman or child remains hungry. Better coordination is needed to ensure shelter is available for all. Funds for Yemen are in plenty, and the United Nations has lauded Gulf contributions. Only recently the UAE promised $300 million in aid for the country.

A meeting was held in New York recently by UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatari ministers to coordinate their efforts and increase efficiencies to ensure Yemenis get the support they need without delay. Military victories have come at a price with many Gulf soldiers martyred, but coalition forces are set to push all the way to Sana'a, the capital. Marib is in their grip after the Houthi rebels fled on Tuesday.

On the war front, good progress is being made and the Houthis are being driven out of their bastions, but the tougher part will be in keeping the peace in a country which has not witnessed development of any kind for decades. All gains have been wiped away by sectarian strife and political unrest. 'The country is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe," said UN humanitarian co-ordinator, Johannes Van Der Klaauw.

The numbers are stark. According to UN estimates, 4,500 people have been killed and 23,000 wounded since March when the conflict escalated. The population of the country is 26 million, and 21 million are in need of humanitarian aid, a jump of 33 per cent over last year. Those considered 'food insecure' is 12.9 million, a jump of 22 per cent since March, and those without water and basic sanitation are a whopping 20 million.

"Damage is widespread in the poverty-stricken country, and the effects of the conflict has parched 21 out of 22 of provinces, with 1.4 million people displaced. The UN says more than 1.2 million children are suffering from moderate to acute malnutrition; half a million are severely malnourished", added the paper.

But thanks to efforts of the Arab and GCC coalition, ports in the south have been opened and food supplies can flow into the country. Yemen imports 90 percent of its food. Now that the naval embargo has been lifted and fighting around the port of Aden has ceased, the situation is expected to stabilise. Fuel supplies can then be shipped for vehicles which will deliver food to starving people.

The first step is to check the price rise of essential commodities in the country. The next is to ensure that food and clean water reach provinces in the south under GCC control. The third is to rebuild road networks in the area. It will then be easy to set up makeshift hospitals and move doctors and paramedics to tend to the maimed and sick.

"It will take hard work and toil. But unlike the refugee crisis in Syria which has divided Europe, the GCC is united and committed to Yemen's recovery by dealing with it at the source," concluded the Dubai-based daily. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395286477402.html

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