Ireland announces €6m in humanitarian aid for Yemen and Iraq

The UN has appealed for €1.97bn to avert famine

Ireland announces €6m in humanitarian aid for Yemen and Iraq

Individuals displaced by hostilities in Mokha in Taizz governorate, western Yemen, receive UNHCR emergency assistance | Image: UNHCR/Adem Shaqiri

Ireland has pledged €6m in humanitarian support for severe crises in Yemen and Iraq.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and Minister of State Joe McHugh say Ireland will provide two-thirds of the aid (€4m) to the United Nations Humanitarian Pooled Fund in Yemen.

This is in response to the needs of nearly 19 million people there - two-thirds of the population - affected by two years of civil war.

In February this year, the UN appealed for US$2.1bn (€1.97bn) to avert famine for 12 million people.

Minister Flanagan said: "The scale of humanitarian need in the world today is unprecedented and with the severe situation in Syria in the world headlines, crises like that in Yemen are in danger of being forgotten.

"The UN has warned that Yemen is on the brink of famine - a famine caused, not by natural disaster or drought, but by conflict.

"It is crucial that the international community works together to alleviate the suffering of the people of Yemen through humanitarian assistance and working to support a peaceful solution to the conflict."

In March 2015, the president of Yemen, Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi, was forced to flee the country by Houthi rebels.

The Zaidi Shia Houthis were supported by elements of Yemen's military loyal to the country's former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In response, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of a dozen countries to restore Yemen's internationally recognised government to power.

Children carrying jars of cooking oil at an IDP camp on the outskirts of Fallujah, Iraq | Image: WFP/Mohammed Al Bahbahani

The European Council on Foreign Relations says: "Two years since the launch of the Saudi-led campaign, peace in the troubled country seems as far off as ever.

"President Hadi and his prime minister, Ahmed Obaid bin Daghir, now govern from the port city of Aden, which they declared the temporary capital."

An additional €2m is being given to the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund in response to the needs of almost 11 million Iraqi people affected by violence linked to ISIL, and the counter-insurgency operation launched by the Iraqi Government.

This pooled fund is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who will disburse the funding to meet critical humanitarian needs.

Minister of State Joe McHugh said: "Ireland's funding to the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund will provide assistance to people affected by the crisis in Iraq including families and children, who are often the worst affected by conflict.

"Providing funding through Pooled Funds means that the most urgent needs can be met quickly, be they for food, shelter, health or protection for the most vulnerable".

Ireland provided €4.1m in humanitarian funding to the crisis in Yemen in 2016, and gave €2.5m last year to the crisis in Iraq through the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund.