Angelina Jolie decries 'unimaginable' suffering in Yemen's war

Actress says aid appeals are 'underfunded' before this month's pledge meet

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Actress Angelina Jolie on Tuesday decried the “unimaginable” suffering she has seen during a visit to Yemen and urged donors to dig into their pockets and help the war-ravaged nation at this month's pledging meet.

Jolie, the star and director of numerous films, sounded the alarm about impoverished conditions in Yemen after meeting displaced Yemenis in the south and the rebel-held north of the country.

“The level of human suffering here is unimaginable,” said Jolie, celebrity envoy for the UN refugee agency since 2011.

“For every day that Yemen’s brutal conflict continues, more and more innocent lives are lost, and more people will continue to suffer.”

The actress met families displaced by fighting living in flimsy shelters in southern Yemen's Lahj governorate.

One mother told the actress how she struggles to feed her children and enrol them in school.

In the north, the actress heard similarly tragic stories of death, displacement and suffering amid fighting between rebels, pro-government and foreign coalition forces.

Jolie noted how headlines are dominated by “suffering and horror” but that this can mask “displays of compassion and international solidarity” that she witnessed during her three-day visit, which began on Sunday.

“I hope this compassion and solidarity will be extended to the people of Yemen, who urgently need a swift and peaceful resolution to this conflict,” she said.

Her visit came in the run-up to the annual pledging meeting for Yemen on March 16.

UN aid chiefs worry that donor fatigue will affect the event, as governments shift spending to Ukraine, Afghanistan and other global hotspots.

She said aid appeals were “underfunded globally” and urged donors to give generously, a statement from UNHCR said.

“We urgently need to find solutions that enable conflicts to be addressed and displaced people to be able to return home in dignity and safety,” she said.

Yemen has been mired in chaos since Iran-backed Houthi rebels ousted the internationally recognised government from the capital Sanaa in early 2015, saying they were fighting corruption.

A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened the following year to restore the ousted government.

The war has claimed more than 370,000 lives, directly and indirectly, the UN says, and has caused widespread suffering, with four fifths of Yemen’s 30 million people needing aid.

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Updated: March 08, 2022, 8:52 PM
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