The news from Yemen has remained grim over the past weeks. Security in Aden is poor to say the very least; Taizz is still a battleground inside a siege as far as one can tell; and Sana'a waits apprehensively as forces opposed to the Houthis and/or Saleh (but loyal to whom?) edge towards the city from the East. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, though much good work continues to be done by international and local NGOs, sometimes intolerable and often in dangerous conditions. It was heartening to hear from the Rev'd Peter Crooks at the recent meeting of the Society that the Ras Morbat clinic in Aden continues to offer some services to the community there.
There may be a glimmer of hope from the fact that in the last few days the Houthis have handed over a Saudi captive and sent a delegation to Saudi Arabia for talks there. However, without knowing more about the details of the conversation they may be having we should not rush to think that an end to the internal conflict is nearly over.
We plan to have two more meetings, in April and May, before our AGM at the beginning of June. B-YS member Brian Whitaker, a veteran Yemen and ME watcher, will give us his take on what has gone wrong in Yemen over the past decades and, returning to the cultural theme of the B-YS, we are planning a talk on Yemen's endangered archaeology.
Yemen remains in exceptional need of our assistance. I would like to finish by reminding members that our appeal remains open. We were able to send over £3,400 to each of the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres at the end of last year. We hope also to be able to offer support to the eye clinic in Aden by helping with the costs of flying an Egyptian specialist to Aden to train the team there.
Would members please note our bank details to contribute to our appeal are:
Royal Bank of Scotland, 48 Haymarket London SW1Y 4SE,
sort code 16 01 23, account number 14555021, specifying B-YS Yemen Appeal.
Cheques payable to The British-Yemeni Society to the Hon Secretary, 210 Stephendale Road, London SW6 2PP