By Lisa Barrington
DUBAI (Reuters) – More food arrives to needy Yemenis after donors heeded United Nations warnings of impending famine, but aid groups said the world’s largest humanitarian operation had failed still not enough money to see 2021.
The World Food Program has announced that it will resume monthly distributions this month to around 6 million people in areas with the highest rates of food insecurity.
In April 2020, WFP cut bi-monthly food aid in half in areas of Yemen controlled by the Houthi movement after donors cut funding, in part due to concerns about the obstruction of the Houthi movement. ‘help.
More funds have started flowing since April after UN officials said Yemen could experience the world’s worst famine in decades as violence escalated in the six-year war amid the pandemic of COVID-19.
“WFP needs $ 1.9 billion in 2021. Donors have so far increased by about $ 937 million,” said WFP Yemen spokesperson Annabel Symington.
Yemen has food reserves, but the deep economic crisis and restrictions on fuel and food imports have pushed prices out of reach for many.
WFP feeds more than 12 million Yemenis, about 80% of them in areas held by the Houthis, who ousted the internationally recognized government from power in the capital Sana’a in late 2014.
Yemen’s 2021 humanitarian response plan, worth $ 3.85 billion, is only 43 percent funded.
“It’s not enough to get through the rest of the year,” said David Gressly, United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.
“We have made a major intensification effort, particularly on the side of food aid and malnutrition… It must be supported or the gains we are currently seeing will be totally lost.
The ramp-up was made possible thanks to injections from a new private foundation. The UAE has resumed aid to Yemen through the 2021 Famine Prevention Foundation. Saudi Arabia – which leads a coalition fighting the Houthis – has placed part of its donation through it, the United Arab Emirates said. humanitarian sources.
This money only runs until the end of August and other humanitarian aid remains underfunded.
Programs for internally displaced people are funded at around 5% for 2021 and health programs at around 10%, UNOCHA said.
“Famine is a multidimensional phenomenon… you also have to think about protection, health care, water,” said a humanitarian source.
(Written by Lisa Barrington; edited by Angus MacSwan)