11th January 2021

Islamic Relief says the US government’s decision to designate Ansar Allah, the de-facto authorities in the north of Yemen, as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, will have a devastating humanitarian impact.

Muhammad Zulqarnain Abbas, Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Country Director in Yemen, said:

“This decision puts lives at risk and could have catastrophic humanitarian consequences for millions of people in Yemen who are already on the brink of famine. Cutting off or reducing this lifeline now could push them into starvation.

“Around 80 percent of Yemeni civilians live in areas under Ansar Allah control, where many life-saving aid projects now face massive disruption, delays and potentially having to stop work. It is vital that the US Government immediately guarantees that this aid can continue without restrictions or repercussions across all of Yemen. Humanitarian workers must not be criminalised for providing vital aid.

“After nearly six years of brutal war, Yemen is the world’s biggest humanitarian emergency. Nearly 24 million people are in need of aid, and millions have had to flee their homes. Humanitarian aid has just about managed to prevent a famine that could cost hundreds of thousands of lives, but malnutrition is rising again and every day our staff and volunteers help women and children who are on the verge of starvation. Islamic Relief distributes food to 2.2 million Yemenis and supports 164 nutrition centres where malnourished children, pregnant women and new mothers get additional feeding and support.

“Islamic Relief works impartially and takes no side in the conflict. We deliver aid wherever there is most humanitarian need. We urge the US Government to ensure that vulnerable people in the north of Yemen are not further punished just because of which group controls the area they live in.”

Notes: Last year Islamic Relief’s work in Yemen supported 2.5 million people with food, healthcare, water and sanitation. In addition to food distributions and nutrition centres, Islamic Relief also provides medical supplies and other assistance to six hospitals and three COVID-19 centres in the north of Yemen.