A GROUP of Christian and Muslim NGOs have launched a call for prayer for Yemen, which they describe as going through the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world today”.
On Monday, the CEOs of Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, CAFOD, Tearfund, and World Vision UK called on faith communities to pray for an end to the crisis.
It followed news that the proposed retreat of Houthi troops and plans for prisoner exchanges had not yet happened, despite an agreement last month (News, 18 December 2018).
The UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, told the Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat that “timelines have been extended. The original deadlines were rather ambitious. We are dealing with a complex situation on the ground.”
On Monday, the CEO of Christian Aid, Amanda Mukwashi, said: “This is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today, and we cannot let it be forgotten. The people of Yemen are crying out for hope; and we urge people of all faiths to join with us in praying for the hearts of international governments to be moved to further action, and for positive change to come to Yemen.”
The interim director of Islamic Relief UK, Tufail Hussain, said: “Our staff regularly share stories of the desperate situations Yemenis face every single day. Almost half the population is facing starvation, and our staff are working tirelessly in the most challenging of circumstances to deliver life-saving food and medical supplies. We are proud to come together with other faith-based agencies to call for action, and I’m urging our supporters and those of all faiths to remember the people of Yemen in their prayers.”
Speaking from Hodeidah, Yemen, Islamic Relief’s coordinator Salem Baobaid said: “Until now, little has changed for ordinary people. After the months and months of bombing, shelling, and starvation, it will take much more than a ceasefire to start breathing life into people who have been living on the edge of death for so long.
“Things are so bad that large groups of people have started living in squalid, toxic conditions on the edge of the city’s main, highly contaminated garbage dump — just so they can forage for scraps.”
The CEO of World Vision UK, Tim Pilkington, said: “The conflict in Yemen is now approaching its fourth year. Every day, millions of children struggle to survive without food, clean water, or medicine. Parents face the agony of seeing their children go hungry and die. They are desperate. They need hope.
“We urge people of faith to join with us and pray for these children to get the protection they need. We also pray that international leaders find the wisdom and courage to broker lasting peace and secure a brighter future for the people of Yemen.”
A suggested prayer was published:
Giver of Life,
Who hears the cries from Yemen;
of mothers choosing between medicine or food,
of parents grieving children lost to starvation,
of those who have given up everything in hunger.
Hear our cries for hope, for change, for peace
In your mercy,
Break political deadlocks,
Soften hardened hearts,
Change closed minds,
Open unhearing ears.
Let people come before power
Let life be holy again
Let your justice and peace
Shape the nation of Yemen
And the lives of all people