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UN warns WHO could suspend 80% of its services in Yemen

Medical aid for Yemen to help tackle coronavirus, 23 March 2020 [WHO EMRO/Twitter]
Medical aid for Yemen to help tackle coronavirus, 23 March 2020 [WHO EMRO/Twitter]

The United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande warned that the World Health Organisation (WHO) could suspend about 80 per cent of its health care services in Yemen by the end of the week despite the prospect of a health catastrophe caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Al-Monitor reported.

The news site explained that the drawdown came after the United States reduced "the lion's share" of its humanitarian assistance to Yemen last month in response to Houthi restrictions imposed on aid.

Speaking at a virtual panel hosted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Grande said: "We are facing a funding crisis of gargantuan proportions," adding that "donors have lost confidence" due to Houthi aid restrictions in northern Yemen.

READ: UN warns coronavirus may have spread 'undetected' in Yemen 

"Authorities, particularly in northern Yemen, have recognised there's a problem. They recognise it and have started to take steps to change it," she said, stressing that more must be done to ensure that aid workers can do their jobs unhindered.

According to Al-Monitor, Grande said the WHO is going to have to "reduce" or "more likely" suspend operations in 189 Yemeni hospitals and 200 primary health centres.

Moreover, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will have to reduce or stop services in 18 hospitals and 2,500 primary health centres, affecting some 250,000 malnourished children, she added.

Asia & AmericasInternational OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsUNUSWHOYemen
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