Yemen Donor Conference Falls Way Short of Goal
A donor conference has raised $1.35 billion for Yemen, a sum that is way short of the United Nations’ intended target of the $2.4 billion, which officials say is needed to sustain humanitarian operations in the war-torn country. The UN’s Resident Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, had told the Reuters news agency prior to the virtual event that aid organizations would face “catastrophic cutbacks” if donations fell short of $1.6 billion. For his part, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that “unless we secure significant funding, more than 30 out of 41 major United Nations programs in Yemen will close in the next few weeks.” The appeal came on the backdrop of an outbreak of coronavirus in Yemen, which has been decimated by a five-year war primarily pitting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels against a Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab states. The decrease in pledges has been attributed to a number of factors, but perhaps foremost among them is that the Houthis, who control many of Yemen’s large urban centers including the capital Sanaa, have been accused of obstructing the delivery of aid or redistributing it among their supporters. The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and pushed millions to the brink of starvation. It is estimated that 80% of Yemenis depend to varying degrees on foreign assistance to survive.