The Minister of State, Department for International Development (Lord Bates) (Con): My Lords, following the positive outcomes of the Stockholm consultations, it is imperative that the parties act in good faith to implement the agreements. Any escalation of military activity must be avoided, and the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef and onward supply routes must be kept open. We continue to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation through our £170 million response this year. The UK is also discussing how best to support the ceasefire agreement with partners.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his response. I am glad that we are able to make a significant contribution but this humanitarian disaster is horrific in scale: 85,000 people have already starved to death, 420,000 children are being treated for malnutrition and we have seen the worst cholera epidemic in the past decade. What are Her Majesty’s Government doing to consider whether we can provide additional help? In particular, what representations are they making to other countries to step up to the plate and address the shortfall so that we can try to resolve this humanitarian crisis?
Lord Bates: The right reverend Prelate is absolutely right to point out that this humanitarian crisis is without precedent. It is not going too far to repeat the words of the Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, who said that this could be a famine on a scale that we have not seen for 100 years. The response needs to match that statement in its urgency. So far, the response to this year’s $3 billion appeal is around 80%; the UK’s contribution has been £170 million. We are the fifth-largest contributor behind Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and the United States. Next year, the appeal will be set at $4 billion. There will be a pledging conference in Geneva on 26 February. The world must step up to address the humanitarian crisis and seize this window of opportunity with the ceasefire to address the desperate needs of the people of Yemen.