Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan

Part of Standards and Privileges – in the House of Commons at 9:42 pm on 16th May 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell The Secretary of State for International Development 9:42 pm, 16th May 2011

If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me for a moment, I turn now to Yemen. Keith Vaz warned of the continuing crisis. I will consider carefully some of his wider comments. With reference to Yemen, I am concerned that alongside the current political impasse, we are seeing an escalating economic crisis. In particular we are seeing increasing reports of fuel shortages and rises in food prices. Any further deterioration in the economy could prompt a much broader humanitarian crisis, not least because without fuel, much of Yemen cannot be provided with water.

The British Government are working with aid agencies to ensure that they can respond to humanitarian needs in Yemen, and I can announce today that we will be committing additional support to UNICEF and the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs under the United Nations humanitarian response plan for Yemen. Through this support we will prevent 11,000 children under five from dying of malnutrition, vaccinate 54,000 children against measles, saving lives and preventing blindness, deafness and brain damage in over 2,000 children, and ensure that agencies have rapid access to funds if Yemen tips into a humanitarian crisis.