The United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have announced the launch of a new food aid initiative, 'Imdaad', in cooperation with the World Food Program, WFP, and other international bodies, to combat famine in Yemen. Imdaad aims to provide necessary food supplies to 10-12 million Yemenis, including two million children, and will include basic food items, especially wheat, enough for a period of four months.

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, said that the Imdaad initiative stems from a vested interest in supporting the people of Yemen to overcome the dire humanitarian conditions being experienced as a result of Houthi militia actions and their siege of Yemeni territories, preventing the country's citizens from securing their basic food needs.

"We are committed to helping the Yemeni people and alleviating their hardships," Al Hashemy said.

Outlining the initiative, the UAE Minister explained that it aims to reach 10 million people, one-third of the Yemeni population, providing them with food aid that contains five basic commodities, in particular wheat and rice, sufficient for a period of up to four months.

Al Hashemy said that the initiative will cover all regions of Yemen, regardless of any political or geographical considerations, reaching all of Yemen's citizens in need. Priority will be given to the most vulnerable, predominantly malnourished children aged under five and school-aged children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly and the ill, she explained.

For his part, Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabiah, Advisor at the Royal Court and Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, KSRelief, said that the campaign's main objective is to reach Yemenis in need and alleviate their suffering, in coordination with international humanitarian organizations and bodies. He noted the importance of organizing swift aid delivery mechanisms with official bodies, noting that Houthi militias had previously obstructed 65 aid vessels and 124 aid convoys from reaching persons in need.

Dr. Al-Rabiah added, "The biggest challenge is reaching Yemeni citizens in remote areas and areas under Houthi siege." He recalled how the KSRelief had previously ensured the successful delivery of aid via air drop missions in Taiz during its siege by Houthi militias.

According to the latest UN figures, there are an estimated 17.8 million Yemenis that are food-insecure, 8.4 million of whom are severely food-insecure and at risk of starvation.

Al Hashemy called on the international community to come together and work closely to ensure that the food assistance provided via the Imdaad campaign is delivered swiftly to persons in need, especially in Houthi-controlled regions, to avoid any exploitation of the aid.

The UAE Minister emphasized that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have always been committed to helping the people of Yemen and alleviating the hardships they are facing. The two countries will continue to carry out their various humanitarian programs and campaigns aimed at eradicating famine in Yemen, she said.

Humanitarian aid delivered to Yemen in the past three years has amounted to AED67 billion (US$17.6 billion).

Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs