Humanitarian programmes in Yemen forced to shut due to lack of funding

Sana’a, 21 August 2019

Commitments made by donor countries at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen have failed to materialize. At the event convened by the UN Secretary General in February 2019, the United Nations and humanitarian partners were promised USD 2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis. To date, less than half of this amount has been received.

“We are desperate for the funds that were promised,” said Ms. Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “When money doesn’t come, people die.”

Of the 34 major UN humanitarian programmes in Yemen, only three are funded for the entire year. Several have been forced to close in recent weeks and many large-scale projects designed to help destitute, hungry families have been unable to start. A staggering 22 life-saving programmes will close in the next two months unless funding is received.

The UN was forced to suspend most of the country’s vaccination campaigns in May. Procurement of medicines has been stopped and thousands of health workers are no longer receiving financial support. Plans to construct 30 new nutrition centres have been shelved and 14 safe houses and four specialized mental health facilities for women have closed. A treatment plant that purifies the water used to irrigate agricultural fields shut in June.

Unless the funds promised at the pledging conference are received in coming weeks, food rations for 12 million people will be reduced and at least 2.5 million malnourished children will be cut-off from the services which keep them alive. 19 million people will lose access to health care including one million women who depend on the UN for reproductive health. Clean water programmes for five million people will shut at the end of October and tens of thousands of displaced families may find themselves homeless.

“This is the largest humanitarian operation in the world addressing the worst humanitarian crisis,” said Ms. Grande. “When we receive funding, we make a huge difference.”

“A number of donors have lived up to their promises and we are grateful to them. With these monies we’ve been able to double, and in some areas, triple the amount of assistance we’re providing. The impact when we do so is immediate. In half of the districts where people were facing famine, conditions have improved to the point where families are no longer at risk of starvation,” said Ms. Grande.

“Millions of people in Yemen, who through no fault of their own are the victims of this conflict, depend on us to survive,” said Ms. Grande. “All of us are ashamed by the situation. It’s heart-breaking to look a family in the eye and say we have no money to help.”

Shara’a Al Siteen, Opposite Awqaf Housing Complex, Sana’a, Republic of Yemen
P.O.Box: 551, Telephone: (+967- 1) 448 605/6 – Fax: (+967-1) 448 841