On March 23, 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. They specifically called for opening Yemen's Hodeida port to humanitarian aid to avert famine.
Call your Senator now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:
"Thank you for calling for opening Hodeida to humanitarian aid. I urge you to use your ability to reject arms deals to force Saudi Arabia to comply with your demand."
When you've made your call, please report it below.
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."
Former U.S. officials have said that failure to open Hodeida to food imports could tip Yemen into famine.
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."