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Fifteen of 41 major United Nations humanitarian programmes in hard-hit Yemen have already been reduced or shut down and 30 more will be affected in coming weeks unless additional funding is received.
“It’s an impossible situation,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, in a statement on 23 September. “This is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world yet we don’t have the resources we need to save the people who are suffering and will die if we don’t help. The consequences of under-funding are immediate, enormous and devastating,” she added. “Nearly every humanitarian worker has had to tell a hungry family or someone who is ill that we can’t help them because we don’t have funding.”
Between April and August, agencies were forced to reduce food distributions, cut health services in more than 300 facilities and halt specialized services for hundreds of thousands of traumatized and highly vulnerable women and girls.
Some 9 million people have been impacted by reductions in food assistance since April. A further 1.37 million will be affected from December unless additional funding is secured. A reduction in nutrition services in July affected more than 334,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women. If additional funding is not received, nutrition services for up to 530,000 children under age 2 may occur from December.
As of September, WHO has ended the Minimum Service Package (MSP) in 121 facilities, which has affected 1 million people. This is in addition to 1.3 million people deprived of access to life-saving health care services through the MSP due to cuts to the health sector since April, when WHO had to stop incentives payments to more than 1,800 medical staff delivering MSP in 135 facilities. If resources are not provided by the end of the year, a total of 9 million people will lose access to basic health care services.
In terms of outbreak control and response, if funding is not received by October, preparedness, surveillance and pre-positioning of supplies for outbreak response including diphtheria and dengue will stop across 23 Governorates. Up to 60 per cent of the 174 existing cholera treatment facilities (174 centres) and 100 per cent of the 300 existing preparedness and medical centres (300 facilities) will close. All 333 district rapid response teams will cease to perform core functions, including case investigation and outbreak monitoring. As many as 18 million people will be impacted, including 6 million children urgently in need of vaccination against deadly diseases like measles and polio.
“Donors have been incredibly generous during the war, providing billions of dollars to support people who have nowhere to go and no one else to turn to,” said Ms. Grande. “But this year, we are falling short, way short, of what we need.” By the end of September, only $1.3 billion of the $3.2 billion needed in 2020 had been received. “We can overcome this crisis if everyone contributes,” said Ms. Grande. “Everyone has a role.”
“We need authorities to put in place the conditions that allow humanitarians to deliver aid in accordance with universal humanitarian principles. We need parties to the conflict to lift the blockade and do everything possible to minimize the impact of the war on families and communities. We ask that donors stand in solidarity with the people of Yemen, dig deep and continue to provide the resources we need.”
“Humanitarians are doing their part. We are on the ground every day, working in one of the toughest environments and under some of the most difficult conditions, delivering assistance to millions of Yemenis,” said Ms. Grande. “This is an operation with real impact. Humanitarians helped to roll-back famine two years ago and we’ve worked with authorities to stem the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. We can do more, and we want to do more—but we need the right conditions and we need funding.”