At 5:30 PM today, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is having a Town Hall Meeting at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.
Please call Dick Durbin's office in Springfield now at 217-492-4062. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:
"I urge Senator Durbin in his speech at Illinois Wesleyan to join the bipartisan call on Saudi Arabia to permit humanitarian groups access to Hodeida to avert famine in Yemen."
When you've made your call, please report it below.
Yesterday, a bipartisan group of ten Senators urged Secretary of State Tillerson to launch an urgent diplomatic effort to address obstacles in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered to people who desperately need it.
About Yemen, the ten Senators wrote:
In Yemen, the World Food Program estimates that 80% of the population is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. In short, millions of innocent people will starve to death without concerted and urgent action in the coming weeks.
In Yemen, we ask that the Department of State work urgently with stakeholders to persuade combatants to permit humanitarian groups increased access to Red Sea ports like Hodeida to deliver much-needed assistance to vulnerable communities.
Please call Dick Durbin at 217-492-4062 now.
And if you haven't signed our petition to Senator Durbin yet, you can do that here.
The United Nations has warned that Yemen is on the brink of famine. The primary cause of the impending famine is Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. This war is supported by the United States - not only with U.S. weapons, but with direct U.S. military participation, including refueling of Saudi warplanes that are bombing Yemen. In particular, the U.S. is perceived to support the Saudi blockade of the Yemeni port of Hodeida, which has been the primary entry point for food, medicine, and humanitarian aid to northern Yemen. Stephen O'Brien, the UN's humanitarian aid coordinator and 53 Members of the House of Representatives have called for the port of Hodeida to be re-opened to humanitarian aid.
Urge NPR to fully report the UN's famine warning for Yemen by signing our petition at MoveOn.
While President Trump has lunch with Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman, children in Yemen are starving to death. Stephen O'Brien, the United Nations top aid official, has demanded that Yemen's Hodeida port, currently blockaded and attacked by Saudi Arabia, be opened to food imports to avert famine. 53 Members of the House have urged Secretary of State Tillerson to "use all U.S. diplomatic tools to help open the Yemeni port of Hodeida to international aid humanitarian aid organizations to allow them to import food, fuel, and medicine into northern Yemen and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children who face starvation."
The Trump Administration wants to sell Saudi Arabia weapons that were put on hold by President Obama. Senator Rand Paul [R-KY] and Senator Chris Murphy [D-CT] oppose the sale. "I don't know why we would give them precision-guided munitions that allow them to target civilians more efficiently,” Senator Murphy said.
Urge your Representative and Senators to oppose the Saudi arms deal by signing our petition at MoveOn.
On Friday, March 10, Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations’ under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, addressed the United Nations Security Council about what must happen to avert the threat of famine in Yemen. He said: "only a combined response with the private sector can stem a famine: commercial imports must be allowed to resume through all entry points in Yemen, including and especially Hudaydah port, which must be kept open and expanded." Sacha Llorenti, Bolivia's Ambassador to the UN said: "Restrictions have to be lifted at the port of Hodeidah to allow access to humanitarian aid."
On Thursday, March 9, 53 House Democrats wrote to Secretary of State Tillerson, urging him to "use all U.S. diplomatic tools to help open the Yemeni port of Hodeida to international aid humanitarian aid organizations to allow them to import food, fuel, and medicine into northern Yemen and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children who face starvation."
The UN and the Red Cross say Yemen is on the brink of famine, with hundreds of thousands of children at risk of starvation if Yemen's Hodeida port is not quickly opened to international humanitarian aid.
Rep. Ted Lieu and Rep. John Conyers are circulating a letter to Secretary of State Tillerson, urging him to use all U.S. diplomatic tools to help open Hodeida port to international humanitarian aid to avert famine.
Call your Representative now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:
"Please sign the Lieu-Conyers letter to help avert famine in Yemen. Help open Hodeida port to international humanitarian aid."
When you've made your call, please report it below.
And if you haven't yet signed our petition urging House Members to sign the Lieu-Conyers letter, you can do that here.
"Hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children languishing in refugee camps and remote villages are nearing starvation," the Washington Post reports. Airstrikes near the port of Hodeida - main entry point for food, medicine and humanitarian aid into northern Yemen - have slowed the delivery of supplies. Half a million children are severely acutely malnourished. The UN says Yemen is “on the brink of famine.”
U.S.-backed Saudi airstrikes have destroyed roads and bridges across Hodeida province. Unexploded rockets have landed inside the port, further reducing imports and the number of ships willing to come to Yemen. The Saudis are enforcing a blockade that is restricting food imports, and have told humanitarian agencies to redirect shipments to Aden. That would mean vital food and medicine would need to be trucked from Aden through war zones to reach the millions at risk of starvation in the north.
To save hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children from starvation, someone must stop the U.S.-backed Saudi attacks on Hodeida. Sadly, so far Washington has turned a deaf ear to the cries of Yemeni children. But any member of the UN Security Council can demand a meeting to discuss action to save Yemeni children from starvation. Of the fifteen current members of the Security Council, Bolivia and Russia are the most independent of the U.S.-Saudi alliance that is pushing Yemen into famine. A vigorous Security Council debate would put pressure on the U.S. to stop supporting the Saudi assault on Hodeida.
United Nations and other international aid officials have been warning that Yemen is on the brink of famine. "Donald Trump’s Shift On Yemen Risks Plunging The Country Into Famine," the Huffington Post reports, warning that the Trump Administration may be giving Saudi Arabia a green light to attack and close the critical port of Hodeidah, blocking Yemen's food imports. "Yemen war causing world's worst food crisis," Vatican Radio reports. "'Time running out': 1.4 million children could die from famine in Africa & Yemen, says UNICEF," RT reports.
But a search of recent stories on the New York Times' website only turns up wire stories, not a regular New York Times article. 
Press NYT editors for prominent coverage of the UN's famine warning for Yemen by signing and sharing our petition at MoveOn.
President Trump's ramped-up support of Saudi Arabia's war may cause a famine in Yemen, the Huffington Post reports. Aid workers fear Saudi Arabia is planning to attack and close the critical port of Hodeidah on Yemen’s west coast, where most of the country's food has come in. The Obama Administration had opposed such an attack, but the Trump Administration may be encouraging it. Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen has been dependent on the U.S. for military support and diplomatic cover. “If there were a serious disruption to that port, that would, I think, be sufficient to tip the country into famine,” said a former U.S. aid official.
Jamie McGoldrick, the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, notes that Saudi Arabia's diversion of aid ships from Hodeidah is already raising the risk of mass starvation. Using starvation of civilians as a weapon of war is a grave violation of international law.
Press President Trump and Congress to stop Saudi Arabia from causing a famine in Yemen by signing and sharing our petition at MoveOn.