The UN aid chief says Yemen is on the brink of famine, amid smaller aid contributions from Gulf countries. In 2020, the UN received just over half of the $ 3.4 billion it needed.
UN aid chief Mark Lowcock urged Gulf states to step up next Monday when the world body seeks to avert a large-scale “man-made” famine in Yemen by lifting 3, $ 85 billion for humanitarian operations in this war-ravaged Arabian Peninsula country for 2021..
The United Nations describes Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 80 percent of people in need. Lowcock warned that if the global body does not get the money it needs at a virtual pledge conference Monday, “we’re going to see the worst famine the world has seen in decades.”
In 2018 and 2019, the UN prevented famine in Yemen with a well-funded appeal for aid, which included large donations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, Lowcock said.
“What is alarming and what is different about the situation we find ourselves in now is that there has been such a decline in support for the humanitarian operation that we have reduced aid to the hungry – not in isolation, in ways that affect millions of people across the country, ”Lowcock said Wednesday.
In 2020, the United Nations received just over half of the $ 3.4 billion it needed, which Lowcock said was largely due to smaller contributions from Gulf countries. . He urged them to pledge generously for 2021 and pay quickly.
“My message really to the Gulf countries … is that you have an extremely important role to play here, what you did in 2018 and 2019 saved a lot of lives, frankly, and kept us from a total collapse. and a tragedy of truly historic proportion. It’s now back on the razor’s edge, ”Lowcock told reporters.
“It is a famine entirely caused by man,” he added.
Yemen is embroiled in a war that erupted in 2014 when Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sana’a and much of the north of the country after toppling the internationally backed government. Months later, a Saudi-led coalition launched a military offensive in support of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
After nearly six years of war, millions of Yemenis are on the brink of famine with an economy destroyed, schools and hospitals barely functioning and tens of thousands dead.