Donors pledge $1.2 billion in Yemen aid, far short of UN target

Donors pledge $1.2 billion in Yemen aid, far short of UN target

The United Nations collected $1.2 billion in humanitarian aid for Yemen, but the amount is far short of a $4.3 billion goal the United Nations set to help the war-torn country.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a global donor conference in Geneva on Monday that the US would provide $444 million in humanitarian aid to Yemen this year and urged other donors to increase their contributions.

“The scale of the challenge we face is daunting. But I urge everyone to keep our focus on the people we are trying to help,” he said.

Blinken said last year’s funding shortfall to Yemen forced UN agencies to scale back operations in the country, including food rations.

With this year’s donation, the total US contribution to Yemen since the start of the country’s war is $5.4 billion, according to Blinken.

About two-thirds of Yemen’s population – more than 21 million people – are in need of humanitarian and protection services, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told donors on Monday: “The people of Yemen deserve our support. But more than that, they deserve a credible path out of perpetual conflict and a chance to rebuild their societies and their country.”

Yemen’s conflict, which began in 2014, pits a Saudi-led military coalition against an Iran-linked Houthi rebel group. The rebel group ousted Yemen’s internationally recognized government from the capital Sanaa in 2014 and now controls large parts of the country’s north.

A UN-brokered ceasefire last April has largely halted the fighting, although the ceasefire expired last October without an agreement by the two sides to renew it.

The war has left tens of thousands of people dead and devastated the country’s economy.

The UN’s World Food Program feeds 13 million people in Yemen.

The World Health Organization says health facilities have been repeatedly attacked in Yemen and said the agency needs $392 million this year to ensure health facilities remain operational and provide basic medical services to the most vulnerable people.

The Norwegian Refugee Council’s aid group said the donations promised on Monday were insufficient.

“The international community showed today that it has abandoned Yemen at this crucial crossroads,” said Erin Hutchinson, the group’s Yemen country director.

Globally, the UN is seeking a record $51.5 billion in aid this year, and the UN acknowledged that crises around the world are straining donors.

“Record global humanitarian needs are straining donor support like never before, but without sustained support for the relief effort in Yemen, the lives of millions of Yemenis will hang in the balance,” the UN said in a statement.

Monday’s donor event was jointly organized by Sweden and Switzerland.

Some information in this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

    Source: sn.dk

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