Yemen: World’s biggest humanitarian emergency nears breaking point

A crisis within the world’s greatest humanitarian emergency could be reaching breaking point over the control of lifesaving aid millions of Yemenis need to survive.

Major donors and some of the world’s biggest aid agencies will meet in Brussels on Thursday in an effort to forge a collective response to what is being widely described as unprecedented and unacceptable obstruction by Houthi authorities who hold sway over large swathes of northern Yemen.

The lives of millions of Yemenis depend on it. A recent Yemen briefing to the UN Security Council underlined that access constraints were affecting 6.7 million Yemenis who needed assistance – a figure which it noted has “never been so high.”

“Humanitarian agencies must operate in an environment where they can uphold humanitarian principles,” says Lise Grande, the UN’s Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen.

“If we reach a point where the operating environment doesn’t allow us to do that, we do everything we can to change it.”

Even at this eleventh hour, discussions are continuing with senior Houthi officials to find a way forward.

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