Councillors speak out about Yemen’s humanitarian crisis

In the midst of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, councillors spoke out today about the problems faced by Sheffield’s Yemeni community.

Abdul Khayum, Labour Councillor for Firth Park, put forward a motion at yesterday’s council meeting, which called on the council to officially recognise the horrors of the current crisis in Yemen.

The motion, which also called for recognition of the Yemeni community’s significant contributions to the city, was unanimously passed by the council.

Councillor Khayum said he knows many members of the Yemeni community very well.

He said: “I’ve grown up with them, I’ve worked with them – they are my neighbours, they are my friends, they are my colleagues.”

“So for me, it’s very important that we do something, because those people are directly affected by this crisis in Yemen.”

Councillor Abtisam Mohamed, who seconded Mr Khayum’s motion, was born in Yemen and has family members that have died there as a result of the crisis.

Mrs Mohamed spoke through tears at yesterday’s meeting about the distress she felt at the lack of help Yemen was receiving.

She said: “I am saddened by the silence of our government.

“We must show a unified voice from all the parties in this room that we stand with the people of Yemen.”

Over 13 million people are at risk of starvation in Yemen, and over 85,000 children have already starved to death as a result of the ongoing crisis.

It is widely regarded as one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

Councillor Khayum encouraged the people of Sheffield to contact their MPs, and demand they speak up in parliament to take action.

“Find out what’s happening, where it’s happening, and try and do as much as you can at an individual level.

“Sheffield as a whole is well-known for the charitable work that goes on across all communities.”

Shaffaq Mohammed, the leader of Sheffield’s Liberal Democrats, seconded Mr Khayum’s sentiment.

He said: “It’s not unusual for Sheffield to be slightly radical.

“Rather than the city council just caring about pot-holes, cutting grass and cleaning up fly-tipping, we actually care about the world as well.”