UN / YEMEN CONFERENCE

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02-Jun-2020 00:02:32
UN Secretary-General António Guterres told leaders at a pledging conference for Yemen that the humanitarian community was now in a “race against time” with reports indicating that the mortality rates from COVID-19 in Aden “are among the highest in the world” adding that this is “just one sign of what lies ahead, if we do not act now.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / YEMEN CONFERENCE
TRT: 2:32
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 02 JUNE 2020, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, United Nations headquarters exterior

02 JUNE 2020, NEW YORK CITY

2. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“We are in a race against time. Reports indicate that in Aden, mortality rates from COVID-19 are among the highest in the world. That is just one sign of what lies ahead, if we do not act now.”

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

3. Wide shot, United Nations headquarters exterior

4. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“We have never had so little money for aid operations in Yemen this late in the year. Aid agencies estimate they will need up to 2.41 billion US dollars to cover essential aid from June until December, including programmes to counter COVID-19. Unless we secure significant funding, more than 30 out of 41 major United Nations programmes in Yemen will close in the next few weeks.”


FILE – NEW YORK CITY

5. Wide shot, United Nations headquarters exterior

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“The situation in Yemen is catastrophic. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the country. Available data suggest a much higher rate of severe illness and death than in many other countries. Health facilities are turning people away because they’re already full, or they don’t have what they need to treat people with the virus. This is what more than five years of war have done to Yemen. The health system is in a state of collapse.”

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

7. Wide shot, United Nations headquarters exterior

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“Excellencies, Yemen is now on the precipice. Right on the cliff edge, below which lies a tragedy of historic proportions. So, what we ask of you today is: First, generous pledges, consistent with what you provided last year; second, a guarantee to pay promptly; and third, flexible financing to allow the aid agencies to focus where the needs are greatest. I want in particular to warn that cutting funding to one part of the country or another because you are concerned about the behaviour of those in control is tantamount to the collective punishment of the innocent and the vulnerable, people who have no say on who is in charge in the places they live.”


FILE – NEW YORK CITY

9. Wide shot, United Nations headquarters exterior

STORYLINE:

UN Secretary-General António Guterres told leaders at a pledging conference for Yemen that the humanitarian community was now in a “race against time” with reports indicating that the mortality rates from COVID-19 in Aden “are among the highest in the world” adding that this is “just one sign of what lies ahead, if we do not act now.”

Speaking today (02 Jun) at a virtual pledging conference co-hosted by the Saudi Government, Guterres said four people out of every five, representing some 24 million people, need lifesaving aid in what remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. He added that nearly 80,000 addition people have been displaced in 2020 putting the total number over four million.

This is in addition to the hundreds of COVID-19 cases reported in the country, which are highly likely to be undercounted since testing rates are some of the lowest in the world.

With just half of Yemen’s health facilities operational, Guterres stressed that tackling COVID-19 on top of the existing humanitarian emergency requires urgent action and increased funding but noted that, so far this year, that has not been forthcoming.

SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“We have never had so little money for aid operations in Yemen this late in the year. Aid agencies estimate they will need up to 2.41 billion US dollars to cover essential aid from June until December, including programmes to counter COVID-19. Unless we secure significant funding, more than 30 out of 41 major United Nations programmes in Yemen will close in the next few weeks.”
Guterres reaffirmed his call for a ceasefire in Yemen adding that ending the war is the only way to address the health, humanitarian and human development crises in the country.

UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said the situation in Yemen is “catastrophic.” He added, “COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the country. Available data suggest a much higher rate of severe illness and death than in many other countries. Health facilities are turning people away because they’re already full, or they don’t have what they need to treat people with the virus. This is what more than five years of war have done to Yemen. The health system is in a state of collapse.”

Lowcock said the UN and its partners have put forward a clear, workable plan and are currently delivering humanitarian assistance to more than 10 million people across the country every month, while also racing to contain COVID-19.

The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator said while constraints hindering humanitarian deliveries were unacceptable, they are not the most formidable challenge to aid agencies, rather it is funding.

Lowcock said the closure of programmes in Yemen would mean more people will die. He said the COVID-19 rapid response teams are only funded till the end of June and humanitarians might have to wind down treatment for severely malnourished children next month. He stressed that pledges would not save lives unless they are paid, and so far, most of the pledges made remain unpaid.

The UN humanitarian chief said, “Yemen is now on the precipice. Right on the cliff edge, below which lies a tragedy of historic proportions.” He called on participants to make generous pledges, guarantee the pledges would be paid promptly, and provide flexible financing to allow the aid agencies to focus where the needs are greatest. He warned that cutting funding to one part of the country or another out of concern for the “behaviour of those in control is tantamount to the collective punishment of the innocent and the vulnerable, people who have no say on who is in charge in the places they live.”
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