Bishop Robert urges churches to pray for Yemen as aid agencies unite to call for an end to the crisis
The Bishop of Exeter, The Rt Rev’d Robert Atwell, the Bishop of Plymouth, The Rt Rev’d Nick McKinnel and the Bishop of Crediton, The Rt Rev’d Jackie Searle are urging churches to pray for an end to the suffering of the people of Yemen this Sunday, as millions face the threat of starvation in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis today.
Download A prayer for Yemen
Bishops Robert, Nick and Jackie are responding to the calls of leading faith-based international development agencies who are appealing to churches and mosques to pray for the desperate humanitarian situation in Yemen where more than 14 million people face starvation and 85,000 children may have already died from extreme hunger since 2015.
The CEOs of Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, CAFOD, Tearfund and World Vision have come together to urge faith communities to remember the human casualties of the war which broke out almost four years ago.
There are some signs of hope in Yemen with a ceasefire brokered last month in the vital port of Hodeida largely holding, increasing the possibility of food and medicine reaching those in urgent need.
While the organisations welcomed the UK government’s announcement last week that it will be increasing its funding to the UN Peace process in Yemen by £2.5 million, they say the situation is so desperate that much more needs to be done.
Faith groups have committed to taking part in the mass prayer, including the St Anselm Community at Lambeth Palace who will be devoting their evening prayer on Tuesday, 29 January to the people of Yemen.
Bishop Robert, said: “There are few images or reports coming out of Yemen but we cannot allow this to mean that the crisis leaves our hearts and minds. Both the scale of the situation and the very personal desperation of parents having to watch their children die of hunger are appalling.
“There are glimmers of hope but this is a long-standing crisis and communities are in need of urgent help. I would encourage churches to pray that momentum will build here in the UK, globally and on the ground in Yemen so that people are placed at the heart of all responses and families can be relieved of this torment.”
Amanda Mukwashi, CEO of Christian Aid, 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 as people of faith, what can we do but respond in the best way we know how – to pray? We urge people of faith 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.”
Tufail Hussain, Interim Director, Islamic Relief UK, 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.”
Tim Pilkington, CEO of World Vision UK, 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.”
Nigel Harris, CEO of Tearfund, said: “We need to hear the people of Yemen’s cries, and to act. We each have a choice on whether we support our neighbours or stay silent. Join us in lifting up the people of Yemen, pray for those suffering daily, for families torn apart, for our partners on the ground bringing hope and relief. We have to believe that everything is possible with God.”
Chris Bain, CEO of CAFOD, said: “We see immense suffering in the faces of people in Yemen, of the children whose young lives have been stunted by malnutrition, and of those who find themselves homeless, because of the conflict, and in need of the basics of life – food, clean and safe water, and shelter. When a family receives a food parcel, hygiene kit, or medical attention, dignity and a sense of hope is restored. We hope and pray that the human suffering will end. Let us continue to keep the people of Yemen in our thoughts and prayers.”
Those who would like to pray are encouraged to be guided by the following prayer points:
1. For peace for the people of Yemen
2. For wisdom for those involved in diplomacy and a resolve to bring about an end to the conflict
3. For the religious authorities in all of the nations involved to speak truth to power
4. For the people of the UK to be stirred to act to raise awareness of the plight of those living in Yemen – men and women we believe are made in the image of God, just like us.
Notes to Editors:
For more information, please email Chine McDonald at Christian Aid.
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world’s poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.
4. Follow Christian Aid’s newswire on Twitter.
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.org.uk