Millions of Yemenis could soon face cuts to food aid, after promised funds from key donors, including, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) failed to materialise.
The bleak warning was issued yesterday by the UN which said that that it will need to make severe cuts to humanitarian programmes in the war-torn country because money pledged by Member States to pay for them has “failed to materialize”.
“We are desperate for the funds that were promised,” said Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “When money doesn’t come, people die.” Grande said that the UN was forced to suspend most vaccination campaigns in May, and without new money a “staggering” 22 life-saving programs in Yemen will close in the next two months.
Some $2.6 billion was pledged during event for Yemen in February to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis. Over half, $1.5 billionn, was promised by Saudi and the UAE, but to date less than half the amount has been received.
The UN has described the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen as the worst since the Second World War. Fifty-three per cent of the population is said to be facing “severe acute food insecurity” as a result of a Saudi-led bombing campaign and siege.
According to the UN humanitarian office in New York, Saudi Arabia and the UAE each pledged $750 million to its Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019, but so far the Saudis have contributed $127 million and the UAE $160 million.
Warning of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe following cuts to aid programmes, the UN’s Grande said that “millions of people in Yemen, who through no fault of their own are the victims of this conflict, depend on us to survive.”
Unless the funds promised are received in the coming weeks, food rations for 12 million people will be reduced and at least 2.5 million malnourished children will be cut-off from essential services.