With the current truce agreement set to expire on 2 October 2022, humanitarian organisations remind all parties to the conflict that the future of the people of Yemen is in their hands.
As organisations working in Yemen, we recognise and applaud the important steps taken by all parties to the conflict as they continue to work towards upholding the truce. Together you have enabled the longest period of calm for more than seven years, bringing relief and hope to the people of Yemen. During the past six months, we have seen a 60 per cent reduction in casualties. The amount of fuel entering Hudaydah port has quadrupled, allowing hospitals and businesses greater access to fuel, helping to maintain proper functionality of and access to public services, including critical medical treatments. Commercial flights from Sana’a have helped 21,000 Yemenis to access lifesaving medical care, pursue education and business opportunities and reunite with loved ones overseas.
With the current truce agreement set to expire, now is a critical moment for the people of Yemen. While important gains have already been made, more time is needed to ensure that Yemenis can start to rebuild and recover their lives.
After more than seven years of conflict, 23.4 million people in Yemen are dependent on humanitarian assistance. A longer truce would be the first step towards building the lasting peace that is critical to allow people to move beyond food handouts and build their self-reliance. More time is needed to take steps to resolve the payment of civil servant salaries, ensuring that (among the many public sector workers) more teachers are available to support children through education and that more nurses and health practitioners are there to save lives.
While civilian casualties have fallen during the period of the truce, injuries and death as a result of landmines and unexploded ordnances are continuing to rise. A longer period of peace would give humanitarian mine actors the time needed to import critical demining equipment, train staff and carry out clearance to help protect civilians, allow farmers to start using land again, and ensure that children can attend school without risking their lives.
A longer extension of the truce would be the first step in further building upon the gains over the past six months and creating the stability needed to carry out longer-term assistance. If the conflict restarts now, it not only risks destroying gains already made but threatens the future development of Yemen.
Families that we speak to tell us that they want the conflict to end and recognise that, while the truce might not be perfect, it is a crucial step on the road to long and lasting peace. A reduction in fighting means that for the first time in more than seven years, children could start the school year without fear of attacks, including those caused by airstrikes and ground shell and missile fire. As one first-grade teacher said, “During these six months, my pupils have begun to change their perception of seeing a plane fly overhead. To not be terrified, confused and uncomfortable. I hope they will not have to change their perception back to what it was before”.