Funding shortage cuts aid to four million Yemenis: UN Aid Chief

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A funding shortage has cut off aid to four million Yemenis and experts are increasingly worried that “the window to prevent famine” in the war-torn country is closing quickly, the United Nations (UN) humanitarian chief said on Thursday.

Mark Lowcock told the UN Security Council that aid agencies are only reaching nine million people a month, down from more than 13 million at the beginning of the year.

“What is to be the fate of the four million we no longer have the money to help?” he asked.

On September 15, Lowcock for the first time singled out certain countries for giving nothing to this year’s USD3.4 billion humanitarian appeal for Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country which has been engulfed in conflict since 2015.

Lowcock said new funding increased donations to the UN appeal from 30 per cent last month to 42 per cent this month which is welcome, but last year at this time it was 65 per cent funded, and the shortage “still mean that more key programmes are at risk of shutting down.”

Yemen’s conflict started with Houthi rebels capturing the capital, Sanaa, in 2014, forcing the internationally recognised government to flee. The following year, a coalition backing the government intervened to battle the rebels in what has turned into a stalemated regional proxy war. Since then, more than 100,000 people — fighters and civilians — have been killed.

United Nations (UN) Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in Yemen at the UN headquarters in New York. PHOTO: XINHUA