Head of Humanitarian Forum Ahmed Al-Sharaji to the Yemen Times “The humanitarian situation in Yemen isn’t as disastrous as media and interna
Ahmed Al-Sharaji, executive manager of the Humanitarian Forum in Yemen, said the situation in Yemen is caused by an accumulation of difficulties over the past years, not just by the recent crisis.
Al-Sharaji played down the significance of recent reports suggesting Yemen is on the verge of collapse or civil war.
“The humanitarian situation in Yemen isn’t as disastrous as media and international organizations depict,” Al-Sharaji said. “Unfortunately, they talk about the situation in Yemen as if we’re going to be finished soon.”
Al-Sharaji said he was disgruntled with the disgraceful manner of distributing aid to Yemenis by some countries.
“Yes, we need aid and help, but the method of collecting money to help Yemenis by some countries was unseemly. They dealt with Yemen as if it’s in danger of total collapse.”
There are countries that think the humanitarian situation in Yemen is worse than the situation in Somalia, Al-Sharaji said.
“Unfortunately, the government and some Yemeni organizations have created this image about Yemen with the aim of receiving more donations. There have been generous donations from many countries and organizations, but the problem is in the management of these donations and distributing them properly,” he said.
The solution for this problem, he said, is forming a committee from three parties: government, NGOs and the private sector, with the aim of creating a strategy to make organized ways to distribute these donations.
Fund raising, according to Al-Sharaji, is one of the problems facing humanitarian organizations due to a lack of resource mobilization.
“This is the point of weakness for many humanitarian organizations here.”
However, Al-Sharaji sees that Yemen should focus on development projects instead of focusing on receiving frequent international relief.
Asked if the all donations really go to disadvantaged people, he said, “A little money reaches poor people, but a big percentage of money is spent under the name of management expenses and spent also to consultants.”
Al-Sharaji said several Yemeni organizations have exploited the country’s uprising last year for their interests and collected money from various international organizations, but “they didn’t play a role in helping others.”
He also criticized the mechanism of some organizations that “make needy people heavily dependent on their support.”
“We should support those people temporarily and then empower them economically and socially to help themselves,” he said. “Yemenis should be determined to overcome their difficulties and shouldn’t wait for help from others.”
He said thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Haradh, for example, have been receiving aid for three years without being urged to depend on themselves.
“The IDPs in these places will make trouble if they aren’t given aid because they totally depend on this aid.”
He said staffing is a point of weakness for local humanitarian organizations.
“The skilled staff in the local humanitarian organizations always quit and work for international organizations because of high salaries.”
Government’s absent role
“The government doesn’t care about the humanitarian issues while it’s busy fighting Al-Qaeda, political problems and internal conflicts,” he said.
He said government should provide security and have an “honest intention to tackle the humanitarian issues in the country.”
Although he stressed the importance of participation by the government in ending the humanitarian crisis, he said sometimes the government constitutes an obstacle in the way of humanitarian organizations’ improvement.
“Yemen is in a critical moment. We have no clear indicators about the future of the country. Yemenis ensure security, stability and have determination to rise above their bad situation, they will overcome all challenges of their country.”