Yemen: Political and Humanitarian Situation

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:56 pm on 5th July 2017.

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Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cities), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) 4:56 pm, 5th July 2017

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Moon. I thank Stephen Doughty, for securing this debate and giving such a comprehensive outline of the situation in Yemen. I also pay tribute to Flick Drummond and other colleagues in the APPG who worked so hard in the past two years to keep the issue on the agenda.

While we have not been in this place over the past wee while because of the general election, the situation in Yemen has deteriorated significantly. It is often called the forgotten conflict, but I have been watching the situation as closely as I can, and I am increasingly disturbed by the escalation in violence combined with the famine and the terrible cholera outbreak that is causing so much damage. My understanding, having spoken to many of the aid agencies involved, is that they cannot quite declare a famine; they do not have enough people on the ground to declare that it has happened. There is a technical definition for famine that they cannot meet, because they cannot get access. In all probability, the situation is actually much worse than we are able to ascertain from people on the ground. It is not so much that people are starving; it is that people are actively being starved by the conflict in the area and because no one can get in to administer the food and relief that are required.