TAOISEACH MUST RAISE THE YEMEN CATASTROPHE WITH JOE BIDEN ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY

IRISH ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT PRESS RELEASE - 16 MARCH 2021

UNPUBLISHED LETTER SENT TO FIVE NEWS OUTLETS IN IRELAND ON 11 MARCH

• TAOISEACH MUST RAISE THE YEMEN CATASTROPHE WITH JOE BIDEN ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY

• YEMINI PEOPLE ARE STARVING TO DEATH - LIFT THE SAUDI BLOCKADE NOW!

• CHARITY NOT ENOUGH – END THIS INHUMANE WAR NOW!

• IRISH GOVERNMENT SHOULD ONLY ALLOW HUMANITARIAN U.S. FLIGHTS THROUGH SHANNON

Dear Editor,

people in Yemen are starving to death. They are dying in hospitals, homes and on the roadsides fleeing to safety. Many severely undernourished children who make it to the safety of the overcrowded Hodeidah Hospital on the Red Sea coast still die as their bodies are so weakened with starvation. 400,000 Yemini children are at risk of dying according to the director of the UN World Food Programme. 11 million children need aid in the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. The UN estimates that 50% of health-care facilities have shut down in a conflict that has displaced more than 3.6 million people, over 80% of which are women and children. The Coronavirus pandemic runs rampant among such dysfunctionality.

Meanwhile fourteen tankers laden with vital humanitarian aid and fuel have been stranded for two months in the Red Sea off the Saudi coast due to the US-backed Saudi blockade. Hundreds of lorries laden with aid are stuck on the road to the supply gateway of Hodeidah port, unable to progress due to lack of fuel. This is an appalling vista in a country on the verge of a catastrophic famine where 90% of its food is imported. No doubt the situation is complex and there have been atrocities on both sides in this war but ultimately the Yemini people are the suffering pawns in a proxy war between Iran backed Houthis and the US-backed Saudi and UAE regimes where humanitarian aid is now being used as a weapon of war.
President Biden’s efforts since his inauguration are welcome but if he is serious about stopping this war then more decisive action is needed.

The Saudi blockade must be lifted so that aid can reach the desperate Yemeni people. All arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE should be suspended. A vast humanitarian aid relief effort should be accompanied by a ceasefire and a plan to hold peace talks.

The Taoiseach could use the opportunity of the St. Patrick’s Day online meeting to impress upon President Biden, the urgent necessity to end this brutal war immediately. He could suggest that the only US Military planes that will be allowed through Shannon Airport after St. Patrick’s Day will be those filled with humanitarian aid and aid workers on route to Yemen; a small gesture of recompense to offset the US supported carnage of the last six years.

Yours etc.

JIM ROCHE,
PRO Irish Anti-War Movement,
PO Box 9260,
Dublin 1.
Tel: 087 6472737