Sana’a, 1 March – For the second year, international donors let down children and their families in Yemen after yet another failure to reach the funding goal of 3.85 billion USD during today’s Virtual Yemen Pledging Conference. The conference only raised about $1.7 billion USD for a country that is going through the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world and where funding is the difference between life and death for many children.
While an improvement over last year’s conference that only raised half of what was needed, the amount pledged today still falls short of what’s required to support the most marginalised of Yemen’s children. This continued failure of funding by the international community is compounding the crisis in Yemen as five million people, including more than two million children under five, are estimated to be on the brink of starvation this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic adding even more to people’s hardship.
Xavier Joubert, Save the Children country director in Yemen, said:
“We are deeply disappointed with the frustrating outcome of today’s Pledging Conference. Six years of conflict have devastated Yemen and its people – and at a time at which the need has become the direst, the world has turned its back on those who are suffering.
“Despite Save the Children and other organisations raising the alarm over the urgency of the humanitarian situation in Yemen for almost a year, the pledges fail to address people’s growing needs in the country.”
“Our teams on the ground have seen the consequences of last year’s shortfall in funding, as more and more people go without food and see their children go hungry. It’s expected that two million children under five will go hungry this year, while 400,000 of them could die from malnutrition. The $3.85 billion USD was the minimum needed to keep these vital programs going and keep these children alive.
“While we are thankful for the pledges that did come in, it’s shocking that donors, for the second year in a row, failed to bolster their efforts to save the critical programmes that millions of children and their families depend on for survival.
“Undoubtedly, 2020 was a challenging year for all countries around the globe, but Yemenis has suffered unimaginably after six years of conflict. This is not the time to abandon Yemen’s children to suffer the ravages of conflict and starvation.”