Alexandria, Va. – The U.S. State Department’s designation of Ansar Allah will create tremendous challenges for NGOs seeking to deliver essential and live-saving aid to the Yemeni people, who continue to experience one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. For six years, Yemen has been in the midst of internal conflict and turmoil which resulted in severe food insecurity, famine, water contamination and widespread disease. The recent designation by the U.S. government will only exacerbate the immense human suffering that has already devastated the country and further complicate the delivery of critical humanitarian aid.
Islamic Relief USA is deeply concerned about the severe impact this decision will have on interrupting the ability of the international community to conduct necessary humanitarian interventions. Islamic Relief USA manages nearly $8 million worth of programs in Yemen that provide services including water sanitation, medicine/medical equipment distribution, health care training, vocational programs, food parcels, and treatment for diseases such as cholera, to nearly 200,000 people. Disrupting the supply of these resources will result in significant and needless loss of human lives. This action will likely also increase the cases of internally displaced people and refugees, further spurring the spread of COVID-19 among already vulnerable populations. In the event that a designation occurs, Islamic Relief USA will immediately suspend all of its humanitarian activities in the country until it is able to obtain a license to provide our critical life-saving aid in compliance with the regulatory requirements.
Islamic Relief USA fears that this decision will create serious logistical hurdles, preventing the prudent, efficient, and timely delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid. As the largest implementer for the United Nations World Food Program in Yemen, Islamic Relief USA cautions that existing starvation levels will be magnified by any potential delay of delivery of basic food supplies. To avoid senseless loss of life, we urge officials to consider pathways forward that do not interrupt operations of humanitarian aid groups. Blockages of resources can undo years of progress in safeguarding communities ravaged by abject poverty. Islamic Relief USA is communicating with members of Congress to explain the dire consequences should the intended designations be levied. We are also relying on the federal government to continue providing appropriate licenses to humanitarian actors for safe delivery of aid. We urge our donors, volunteers, and supporters to reach out to their representatives to ensure that humanitarian access for NGOs is made a priority in Yemen to alleviate the suffering of an already vulnerable community.
Syed M. Hassan
(703) 370-7246; (571) 421-7032 (CELL)
Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to provide relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world. Its programs benefit millions of people each year in more than 40 countries around the world, including in the United States.
Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.