Sana’a, 19 August 2020 – Half of all of the UN’s major programmes in Yemen are impacted by the lack of funding. Already, 12 of the UN’s 38 major programmes are shut or drastically reduced. Between August and September, 20 programmes face further reductions or closure.
“World Humanitarian Day should be a day of celebration,” said Ms. Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “This year in Yemen, it’s the opposite.”
“We have no choice,” said Ms. Grande. “We have a moral obligation to warn the world that millions of Yemenis will suffer and could die because we don’t have the funding we need to keep going.”
Humanitarians in Yemen have saved millions of lives. Since the end of 2018, aid agencies have managed one of the fastest and largest scale-ups of assistance in recent history reaching an unprecedented 14 million people every month with life-saving assistance.
“This is an operation with real impact,” said Ms. Grande. “Humanitarians have prevented large-scale famine, rolled back the worst cholera epidemic in modern history, and provided help to millions of displaced people.
No one can say we haven’t made a difference. Yemenis have survived this terrible war because of what humanitarians have done and continue to do every single day.”
The impact of under-funding is dramatic. In April, food rations for more than 8 million people in northern Yemen were halved and humanitarian agencies were forced to stop reproductive health services in 140 facilities.
Health services were cut or reduced in a further 275 specialized centres for treating people with cholera and other infectious diseases. Allowances to nearly 10,000 front-line health workers were stopped and the supplies needed to treat trauma patients, who will almost certainly die without immediate treatment, were halted.
If funding is not urgently received in the next weeks, 50 percent of water and sanitation services will be cut, medicines and essential supplies for 189 hospitals and 2,500 primary healthcare clinics, representing half of the health facilities in the country, will halt. Thousands of children who are suffering from both malnutrition and disease will probably die and at least 70 percent of schools will likely be shut or only barely able to function when the new school year starts in coming weeks. Tens of thousands of displaced people who have nowhere else to go will be forced to live in inhumane conditions.
Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Nearly 80 per cent of the population – over 24 million people - require some form of humanitarian aid and protection.
At the High-Level Pledging Event in Riyadh held on 2 June, donors pledged only US$1.35 billion of the $2.41 billion needed to cover essential humanitarian activities until the year end, leaving a gap of more than $1 billion.