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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

The $4bn boost to Yemen is a sign of long-term strategy

A prosperous future for Yemenis needs aid long after Hodeidah is returned to its people

The Emirates Red Crescent has been distributing humanitarian and food assistance to the people of liberated areas in Hodeidah. WAM
The Emirates Red Crescent has been distributing humanitarian and food assistance to the people of liberated areas in Hodeidah. WAM

Hunger and disease have been rife in Yemen ever since the Houthis seized power in 2015.

The situation worsened when the rebels spread their reign of terror to the port city of Hodeidah and usurped vital supplies intended for the starving masses.

Driving the Houthis from Hodeidah is vital to ending the suffering of the Yemenis – and it is this thinking that has governed the actions of the Saudi-led Arab coalition that includes the UAE, which took military steps this month to liberate the port city after all attempts at diplomacy failed.

“We are here for the long run,” Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE’s Minister of State for International Co-operation, assured Yemenis, speaking in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

The UAE has provided aid amounting to $4 billion to Yemen since 2015. And over the past year, the Emirates Red Crescent has delivered 35,000 tonnes of food – enough to feed two million people for a month – as well as other essential supplies.

Such giving will continue long after the Houthis are defeated, reflecting the UAE’s commitment to guaranteeing Yemen’s long-term security.

No sooner had the campaign begun to drive the Houthis out of Hodeidah than the ERC dispatched 10 vessels laden with 13,500 tonnes of food, accompanied by planes carrying more than 10,000 food parcels, on the instructions of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Humanitarianism is not simply an aspect of this campaign: it is the very objective of the mission.

But as the Houthis are forced out and diplomacy supplants military operations, a long-term strategy supported by a sustainable aid package will be required. Ms Al Hashimy left no room for doubt about what the UAE intends to do.

“We are committed to creating a stable environment to help Yemeni people thrive and reach their potential in terms of employment and healthcare,” she said. “There is so much that they are capable of, that they deserve and have been robbed of.”

Actualising this vision of a stable and prosperous future for Yemenis will require ending Houthi misrule. The battle for Hodeidah is a battle for the future of Yemen – it will end only when those responsible for Yemen’s misery have withdrawn from the port that is the nation’s lifeline.ose responsible for Yemen’s misery have withdrawn from the port that is the nation’s lifeline.