The IRC is extremely alarmed by the rapid escalation of violence in Yemen and calls on global leaders to support de-escalation and vocally condemn all attacks that kill civilians. International efforts must focus on bringing warring parties into peace negotiations and reinstating the Group of Eminent Experts or another similar mechanism to hold those responsible for violations in Yemen to account. 

AnsarAllah attacks against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over the last week have destroyed infrastructure and killed civilians. Retaliatory airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition, including in densely populated residential areas of Sana’a and Hodeidah, have wreaked havoc across northern Yemen. January will likely be a record-breaking month for civilian casualties and hundreds have been killed or injured, including a strike on a detention facility in Sa'dah that was the worst civilian casualty incident in three years. Additional attacks risk harming more civilians and will further restrict humanitarian organizations’ access to those most in need. Continued violence will only exacerbate the already dire situation in Yemen, where two thirds of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance. 

Even before the recent escalation of violence, an economic crisis and the record-breaking devaluation of the Yemeni currency was already compounding the vulnerability of millions. Prices across the country continue to rise sharply, making it impossible for people to afford food and other basic items. 

Stephanie Puccetti, IRC Yemen’s Deputy Director for Programs, said,

“Mounting civilian casualties in Yemen demand renewed and urgent attention from global leaders. Airstrikes have become a daily occurrence in Sana’a and other cities. Civilian sites and public infrastructure have been damaged and destroyed. Obligations enshrined in international humanitarian law are being neglected by all sides and civilians continue to bear the brunt of this conflict.

“Renewed violence demands greater accountability. The IRC is calling for global leaders to re-double diplomatic efforts to reduce the impact of the war on civilians. We encourage all parties to de-escalate, engage with the UN Special Envoy, and make meaningful commitments to advance peace. 

The IRC has been working in Yemen since 2012 and rapidly scaled our programming in 2015 to address greater humanitarian needs caused by the conflict. While the ongoing conflict creates challenges for our operations, the IRC has maintained access to affected populations and continues to provide life-saving services, including treatment for malnutrition, healthcare, water and sanitation, cash assistance as well as case management services and education programming.