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Updated On: Saturday, 21 July 2018
Development Issues

$2 Billion Pledged for Yemen

Content by: South-South News

5 April 2018, New York, USA | South-South News — To meet the needs of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the UN and the governments of Sweden and Switzerland raised more than $2 billion in pledges at a pledging conference in Geneva on April 3.

The organizers asked international donors for close to $3 billion in funding to assist an estimated 22 million people -- almost 75 percent of the population -- who are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and protection.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at a media stakeout following the morning sessions of the conference “it is my pleasure to announce that this pledging conference represents a remarkable success of international solidarity to the people of Yemen. The pledge is announced represent more than 2 billion USD and if you compare with last year’s pledging conference we reached 1,1 billion USD.”

As the conflict in Yemen enters its fourth year, some 18 million people are food insecure, one million more than when the last pledging conference was convened last year.

Some 8,4 million people are on the verge of famine in Yemen. Living conditions continue to deteriorate due to widespread conflict, displacement, food insecurity, collapsing basic services, outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria, and economic decline.

Guterres said, “Humanitarian resources are very important but they are not enough. It is essential that they reach the people in need and for that we need unrestricted access into Yemen and we need unrestricted access everywhere inside Yemen.”

He added, “We need all the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and to protect civilians and above all we need a serious political process to lead to a political solution because there was never a humanitarian solution for any humanitarian crisis.”

In Yemen, a child under five dies of preventable causes every ten minutes. Nearly 3 million children under the age of 5 and pregnant or lactating women are acutely malnourished. Nearly half of all children aged between six months and 5 years old are chronically malnourished and suffer from stunting.

Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate told the media that “while the total amount of pledges already made today are extremely encouraging, we must also remember that this reflects the sad fact that the needs on the ground are also growing very much. This totally man-made humanitarian crisis has now lasted for more than three days. Each day that it drags on is one day too many. In particular, I think we should mention the plight of the children and the growing risk of having an entire generation in the country left without education, without health care”.

Saudi Arabia and its allies shut down the country’s land, sea and air borders last year in response to a missile attack by the Houthis that was intercepted near the Saudi capital Riyadh. Humanitarian agencies report access constraints in 90 percent of districts in Yemen.

Manuel Bessler, Assistant Director General and head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Department said, “Yemen needs urgently help, it needs access for people to assistance and it needs access for the assistance to the people, it needs access for the markets, for the ports, for sea and airports. Yemen is in the grip of a conflict now for the 4th year, and there has to be a solution, one part is the humanitarian one and that is why we are here and that is why we appeal to all the member states and the success so far is quite telling and actually encouraging.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), millions of civilians are at extreme risk from indiscriminate attacks, bombing, snipers, unexploded ordnance, crossfire, kidnapping, rape and arbitrary detention. The parties to the conflict are forcibly recruiting children.

The funding appeal came a day after several children were among those killed in a strike on the rebel-held port of Hodeida. According to the UN this was one of the deadliest attacks on children since the conflict in Yemen escalated in March 2015.

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