Yemen must not become a forgotten crisis

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt visited Yemen for the first time on 9 June. The Foreign Minister met Yemen’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the temporary capital of Aden. The evening before, Ms Huitfeldt met the President of Yemen in Riyadh.

Bilde av utenriksminister Huitfeldt sammen med kvinner i flyktningeleir
Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt visited the Oteira Camp outside Aden, Yemen. NRC has projects that contribute to protection, better housing, sanitation services, clean water and access to education. Credit: Guri Solberg/MFA

‘Yemen must not become a forgotten crisis. The protracted armed conflict has claimed an enormous number of lives and is the main reason why two out of three Yemenis are currently living in extreme poverty. There is now hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict. It is therefore vital to come to the country to show our clear support for the Government's efforts to find a political solution and not least our support for the people Yemen,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt. 

As a result of the brutal conflict, some 4 million Yemenis are internally displaced. Ms Huitfeldt visited the newly established Oteira refugee camp outside Aden, where the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is carrying out projects to provide protection and improve living conditions and access to sanitation, clean water and education. People living in the camp have fled the hostilities in Houthi-controlled areas in the north and west of the country. Many have also had to leave their homes due to flooding. Yemen is one of the countries in the world that is most vulnerable to climate change. Moreover, tens of thousands of migrants arrive in Yemen every month from other parts of Africa. 

‘Meeting the internally displaced Yemeni people in the Oteira camp made a deep impression on me. They are fighting a daily battle to secure enough to eat, to feel safe, and to build a dignified life for themselves and their children. The UN, Norwegian Refugee Council and other humanitarian organisations are providing invaluable support to the country’s hard-pressed population,’ said Ms Huitfeldt. 

After eight years of war, the humanitarian needs in the country are immense. Out of a population of 34 million, 21 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Two out of three are living in extreme poverty. 

‘While the world’s attention has largely been focused on the war in Ukraine, we must not forget the ongoing crises and human suffering in other countries, like Yemen. The UN's humanitarian appeal is severely underfunded. Norway is providing NOK 275 million to humanitarian efforts in Yemen this year, an increase of 25 million from 2022,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.  

The war in Yemen has lasted for eight years. Talks are now under way between the Houthi movement and Saudi Arabia about a ceasefire, and there are hopes that this could lay the foundation for an UN-led peace process between the parties in Yemen. 

‘A permanent ceasefire and a political solution that promotes stability and development is essential to improve the lives of the Yemeni people. Norway fully supports the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, to achieve this,’ said the Foreign Minister. 

Bilde av utenriksminister Anniken Huitfeldt i møte sittende sammen med Jemens utenriksminister med kvinne i midten
Minister Huitfeldt met Yemeni President Rashad al-Alimi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, before travelling to Yemen the following day. Credit: Guri Solberg/MFA