A UN humanitarian official said on August 20 that many aid programs in Yemen are closing down due to the slow fulfillment of funding pledges for the conflict-torn country.

Yemeni war-affected people wait to receive food provided by a charity center in Sanaa, Yemen, on June 18, 2019.

Ursula Mueller, UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council that "only 34 percent of plan requirements have been met," while "at this time last year, the plan was 65 percent funded."

At a UN conference in February, donors pledged US$2.6 billion for Yemen humanitarian aid, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The amount marked a 30-percent increase from that in 2018.

While nearly all donors have paid most or all of their 2019 pledges, "the largest donors ... have so far paid only a modest share of what they promised," said Mueller.

In the world's largest humanitarian operation, agencies working through the UN response plan are assisting an average of 12 million Yemeni people every month.

"But much of this is about to stop" due to the inadequate funding, said the UN official.

She cited the cancellation of vaccination campaigns, supplies for health facilities and cholera prevention programs last month.

She further said water and sanitation programs will stop in four governorates in the next few days, which will leave 300,000 displaced people at extreme risk of cholera.

"By the end of September, WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programs for another one million people will also close," she said, adding "in September, we will be forced to close life-saving programs for 2.5 million malnourished children."

Meanwhile, the UN official addressed the issue of humanitarian access, saying agencies continue to face severe restrictions in Yemen.

She said in the north, Houthi-affiliated authorities have imposed dozens of formal and informal directives, and as a result, over 100 projects are awaiting agreement by these authorities.

In government-controlled areas, she said, official regulations are less heavy, but delays persist in getting humanitarian projects up and running.

Moreover, Mueller called for all parties to uphold international humanitarian law, urging all feasible steps to be taken to avoid harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.

"This includes verifying targets, taking precautions in the choice of weapons and cancelling an attack if it is expected to cause disproportionate civilian harm," she stressed.

Related Topics


Brazil surpasses US in daily coronavirus death toll

Brazil daily coronavirus deaths were higher than fatalities in the United States for the first time over the last 24 hours, according to the country's Health Ministry.

Trudeau asks bank CEOs for views on economy, COVID-19 relief- Globe and Mail

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken to the heads of the country's six big banks to get their views on the state of the economy and the COVID-19 relief efforts, the Globe and Mail reported on May 24, citing multiple sources.

Trump opens door to in-person G7 June meeting despite pandemic

US President Donald Trump on May 20 said he may seek to revive a face-to-face meeting of Group of Seven leaders near Washington, after earlier canceling the in-person gathering of world leaders due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

ASEAN senior officials meet online

The ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) at the Deputy Foreign Ministerial level was held on May 18 in the form of a teleconference, with Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of Vietnam ASEAN SOM, participating.

Europe must 'prepare for a second deadly wave of the coronavirus', WHO director warns, instead of celebrating dwindling daily figures

Europe must prepare for a second deadly wave of the coronavirus in the winter, a top World Health Organisation chief has warned.

Seven new coronavirus cases in mainland China on May 12, up from one a day earlier

China reported seven new coronavirus infections on the mainland on May 12, versus one a day earlier, the national health authority said on May 13, with six local cases in northeastern Jilin province and one imported case in Shanghai.