We have forgotten the crisis Yemen is facing
Yemen is one of the most water-starved countries in the world. Its rapid population growth rate of more than three per cent a year means shortages are set to continue and intensify driving further conflicts across the country. Yemen’s capital, Sanaa risks becoming the world’s first capital to run out of water.
On 27 January 2010, as UK Foreign Secretary, I chaired a meeting in London that brought ministers from 21 countries together to discuss the myriad problems facing Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world. We launched the Friends of Yemen, a grouping of states and global institutions that through regular meetings and systematic, structured engagement was to help the country tackle the political, social and economic causes of those problems.
The Friends of Yemen has met five times since, and today will again gather in London. Much has changed in Yemen over the past four years. It has undergone a significant political transition and recently concluded a national dialogue process that will pave the way for a new constitution, general elections and a federal system of government.
But the appalling humanitarian crisis in the country continues to receive little or no attention from the international community, despite the fact that it ranks alongside the Syria crisis in scale and threatens to undermine Yemen’s fragile political process. Simply put, stability in Yemen is not possible if more than half of the population do not know where their next meal is coming from, or cannot access safe water and sanitation. Such is the challenge confronting the country. Click here to continue reading.
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