As prepared

23 August 2021

NEW YORK, 23 August 2021 - "More than six years ago, adults started a war in Yemen. They did so despite knowing the terrible toll that violent conflict exacts on children.

"The war in Yemen, now in its seventh year, has created the largest humanitarian crisis in the world – one made worse by the public health and socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Since I last spoke with you about Yemen two years ago in the Security Council Chamber, little has changed for the country’s civilian population. Each day, the violence and destruction wreak havoc on the lives of children and their families. This year has seen growing displacement, with 1.6 million children now internally displaced because of the violence – particularly around Hudaydah and Marib.

"Basic services like healthcare, sanitation and education – all of which are vital for the humanitarian response – are incredibly fragile and on the brink of total collapse.

"Widespread lack of access to safe and sufficient water is of the utmost concern. Those who are internally displaced are particularly vulnerable to ongoing water cuts taking place across front lines.

"Meanwhile Yemen’s economy is in frighteningly poor condition. GDP has dropped by 40 per cent since 2015, causing jobs to disappear and family incomes to plummet. About one quarter of the population – including many doctors, teachers and sanitation workers – rely on civil servant salaries which are paid erratically if at all. There is food in Yemen, but those who cannot afford it are at risk of starvation.  

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