The aid lifeline in Yemen is running out of money as new assessments show evidence of catastrophic hunger and rising needs
Donors are convening today to raise awareness and funding at a pledging event hosted by the UN, Switzerland and Sweden
UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie will join UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a call to not give up on the people of Yemen
(Geneva, 16 March 2022): International donors will convene today in a bid to jump-start funding for the severely under-resourced humanitarian operation in Yemen at a high-level event hosted by the UN, Switzerland and Sweden.
After more than seven years of war, over 23 million Yemenis face hunger, disease and other lifethreatening risks - a 13 per cent increase compared to 2021 - as the country’s basic services and economy are collapsing. Some 161,000 people will soon be facing catastrophic food insecurity, a harbinger of the fate of a staggering 7.1 million who are just one step behind this ultimate stage of humanitarian crisis.
Nearly US$4.3 billion is required in 2022 to reach 17.2 million people and reverse this downward spiral. But funding has dried up for UN agencies and their non-governmental partners.
UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said: “Despite our best efforts, the aid lifeline for people across Yemen is faltering. Hard decisions need to be made. We have never in the past contemplated giving millions of hungry people no food at all, or to cut away life-saving services for infants or pregnant women. I fear that if the funding gap isn’t addressed, it will simply be a death sentence for people.”
Without rapid injections of cash, almost 4 million people will no longer have safe water to drink, and 1 million women and girls stand to lose access to reproductive health services and protection from gender-based violence. Earlier this year, 8 million people saw their food rations cut in half, with further reductions on the way. Two-thirds of major UN projects in Yemen have already been forced to either scale back or close due to under-funding.
H.E. Mr. Ignazio Cassis, President of Switzerland and head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs said: “It is high time that we step up our efforts. We need to ensure sufficient funding for the humanitarian response. And we must ensure that our contributions reach those in need as quickly as possible.”
H.E. Ms. Ann Linde, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs said: “The people of Yemen must not be forgotten when much of the world’s attention is currently geared towards other conflicts and crises. At a time when the humanitarian needs are increasing in Yemen, international support is needed more than ever and must be sustained. This is a joint responsibility for us all.”
In 2021, donors generously provided US$2.35 billion which helped keep Yemen afloat and people alive. More than 200 humanitarian organizations reached communities in all of Yemen’s 333 districts. On average, 11.6 million people got lifesaving assistance every month. This included 15 million medical consultations, treatment for acute malnutrition for 2 million infants and breast-feeding women, hygiene kits for 2.3 million people, rapid response kits for 434,000 displaced families, and food assistance to nearly 11 million people on average every month.
Increased financial support will get the aid operation back on track. But efforts are needed to also address the underlying drivers of people’s needs. This means stabilizing the economy – a major driver of food insecurity in Yemen – and propping up basic services like education and healthcare.
Most importantly, the people of Yemen need peace – without it, millions will continue to be condemned to extreme levels of poverty, hunger and suffering.
Today’s high-level event is hosted in Geneva and is livestreamed on UN webtv from 1430 CET / 0930 ET. H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, will deliver opening remarks and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie will also address the gathering. Ms. Jolie recently travelled to Yemen to draw attention to the devastating impact of the war and called for support for Yemeni civilians who are facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.
More information about the event is available here
The event is livestreamed on UN web tv here
Photos are available for media use here
A pre-event news edit will be available for broadcasters here