Since 2015, Yemen has been torn apart by a civil war between the incumbent Government and a Houthi militia, who style themselves as Yemen's true Government. The militia have taken over much of the country, including the capital Sanaa. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia are helping the incumbent Government fight the militia, with the hope of restoring the Government.
The war has claimed up to 50,000 lives, many from war but also many from starvation as people cannot find food in large tracts of the country.
I am saddened by the fact that 17.8 million Yemenis have no reliable access to food and that 8.4 million of them face extreme food shortages. I know that the government fully recognises the severity of the unfolding humanitarian crisis. The UK is leading the global response to this crisis in Yemen, as the third-largest humanitarian donor to the country. The UK recently announced an additional £170 million for Yemen to cover the 2018/19 financial year. This additional funding will provide food to 2.5 million Yemeni people, including children and mean that this is an additional £400 million since the conflict began in 2015.
Gaining humanitarian support are just the first steps towards the Yemen Conflict. In order to make sure we are able to help the conflict, every effort must be made on the political track. I feel positive about the recent visit by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the UK. This was a great opportunity to address the need for a political resolution and humanitarian response to the conflict in Yemen.
Another issue which is to be taken seriously is the UK arms exports. The Government takes its defence export responsibilities extremely seriously and operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world and I am confident that it will continue to ensure that UK arms exports are not used for internal repression, violating international humanitarian law, or for provoking or prolonging conflict. In relation to facilitating commercial imports into Hodeidah and Saleef ports, the UK government is providing £1.3milion in funding to the UN verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM), to ensure that weapons are not coming in on large commercial ships. This is of paramount importance, so much so that the UK has deployed UK maritime experts to Djibouti to help further boost the inspections process, increasing the proposition of physical inspections by more than ten-fold. Hodidah is of high significance as it accounts for 64 per cent of total bulk food imports and 54 per cent of total fuel imports nito Yemen. Therefore I am passionate to facilitate full and unhindered access to humanitarian and commercial supplies, such as food medicine and fuel through Hodeidah port.
We can be proud with the UK contributions to this matter, as the UK has proud record as donor to Yemen, both bilaterally and through the UN appeals. The UK aid funded 25% of 455,000 vaccinations provided by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Not only this but we provided over £8 million in targeted cholera support to UNICEF, this support provided rehabilitation medical facilities used by 250,000 people.