Yemen needs our sustained support

The UAE’s humanitarian response to the crisis in Yemen had reached Dh744 million last month. The National / Mohammed Al-qalisi
The UAE’s humanitarian response to the crisis in Yemen had reached Dh744 million last month. The National / Mohammed Al-qalisi

The people of Yemen are in need of our support, both in the short and long term. This is why it has been heart-warming to witness the public’s engagement this week with the Emirates Red Crescent Society’s recently launched Yemen: We Care campaign. The humanitarian appeal has raised tens of millions of dirhams, with donations being made online and at banks, malls and offices across the country. But this fund-raising drive is only the beginning of a long journey.

While it’s important in the short term to focus on immediate and effective humanitarian relief as the fighting continues – and donations will help alleviate conditions for up 10 million Yemenis affected by the conflict – it’s also vital to think about the prospects for the country in the longer term.

Recent events have devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including its airport, roads, bridges, schools and residential areas, as well as its historic buildings and museums. The fighting has wrecked the lives of millions and, as a UN report published this week notes, the conflict is responsible for depriving thousands of schoolchildren of their basic right to an education, with potentially disastrous consequences in the future.

Donations to the ERC campaign will answer the immediate need for food, clothes and shelter, but more lasting projects will need to be delivered – in the form of housing, wells, schools and hospitals – as Yemenis seek to rebuild.

As Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and chairman of the ERC, noted this week, there are historic ties that bind the UAE and Yemen. The smooth transition of our Arabian Peninsula neighbours from a conflict-ridden state into a safe, stable and prosperous country relies on our understanding of those ties and a recognition of Yemen’s requirement for development support and military backup.

The UAE’s already generous humanitarian response to the crisis in Yemen had reached Dh744 million last month, according to a report by the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development. The price of stability in Yemen will inevitably be far higher than that, but a safe and prosperous Yemen will also deliver a more stable region.

Published: September 3, 2015 04:00 AM

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