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‘Yemen at a crossroads’: Nearly 200 aid groups issue urgent funding appeal

In News, World
May 06, 2024

Only a fraction of funds needed to provide aid to millions in the war-torn country is secured, the groups say.

Dozens of aid groups have called for more donor funding to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of Yemen, warning that inaction would lead to “catastrophic consequences” for people in the war-ravaged country.

In a joint statement released on Monday, 188 humanitarian organisations including United Nations agencies said they had secured only $435m of the $2.7bn required to provide crucial assistance, warning of threats such as food shortages and diseases.

“Underfunding poses a challenge to the continuity of humanitarian programming, causing delays, reductions and suspensions of lifesaving assistance programmes,” the statement said, warning that 18.2 million people – more than half the population – needed help after more than nine years of war.

Dire needs despite relative calm

Yemen has been gripped by conflict since late 2014 when the country’s Houthi rebels seized large swaths of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. It escalated in March 2015 when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates assembled a United States-backed military coalition in an attempt to restore the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

A UN-brokered truce in 2022 has seen reduced hostilities, but humanitarian needs remain dire. Meanwhile, recent Houthi attacks on ships transiting through the Red Sea in protest against Israel’s war on Gaza and US retaliatory strikes threaten to shatter the relative calm.

A shrinking economy, deteriorating public services, low-intensity violence and climate change vulnerabilities continue to drive humanitarian crises in the country, the aid groups’ statement said, adding that nursing women, older people and children are particularly vulnerable to rising levels of food shortages.

The spread of cholera in the current rainy season, as well as unexploded munitions that have caused deaths and injuries, are also serious concerns, the groups said, noting that Yemen is a country “at a crossroads”.

“We cannot ignore the significant humanitarian needs that remain and that cannot be addressed without adequate funding to respond,” the statement said.

With a population of 33 million, Yemen is one of the world’s poorest countries and among the most vulnerable to climate change. Hundreds of thousands have died in the war or from indirect causes such as a lack of food, according to the UN.

In March, NGOs warned that two in five Yemeni children are not attending school, while more than 17 million people – half of them children – require health assistance.

Monday’s appeal to boost the country’s 2024 Humanitarian Response Plan came a day before a meeting of high-ranking European Union officials in Brussels to discuss aid for the country.

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