Most of the United Nations’ programs in Yemen may closed by the end of this month, including its programs to fight the coronavirus, United Nations renews its warning just A day after donors conference in Riyadh failed to collect the UN’s target of $2.4 billion.
The United Nations warned on Wednesday that its programs to fight the coronavirus in war-torn Yemen might have to stop by the end of the month.
The warning came a day after international donors raised $1.35 billion in humanitarian aid for Yemen. The amount fell short of the UN’s target of $2.4 billion needed to save the world’s biggest aid operation, however.
More than 3.6 million Yemenis have been displaced by conflict. Disease is rife and the United Nations says the health system has effectively collapsed.
Program reductions had already started in some areas, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, told Reuters:
The World Food Program, which feeds more than 12 million Yemenis a month, in April halved rations in northern areas. It needs funding for existing operations and to ramp back up operations in the north.
One week before the first COVID-19 case was announced in Yemen on April 10, the World Health Organization was forced to suspend payments to 10,000 health workers.
Programs for pregnant and lactating women are being shut in 140 healthcare facilities.
Immunization programs are being suspended and Fifty-one primary healthcare clinics have closed.
Depending on the amount of money raised, Grande said more cuts or closures could follow:
Basic health services provided at 189 hospitals and 200 primary healthcare units could be lost.
Some 6.5 million people including those in areas with cholera could lose water and sanitation services.
Nutrition programs for 2 million malnourished children would have to be shut.
“This will severely handicap efforts to contain the outbreak, which is already spreading rapidly,” AP quoted Hayat Abu Saleh, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as saying.
The warning comes a day after a UN appeal for countries to fund emergency aid in the Arab world’s poorest nation fell a billion dollars short of what agencies need to cover essential activities from June to December.
The coronavirus is threatening to decimate Yemen’s healthcare system, already ravaged by more than five years of civil war.
At least 31 major UN programs in Yemen, covering essentially every sector from food to healthcare and nutrition, are at “serious risk of significant reduction or closure,” she added.
Tuesday’s conference raised $1.35 billion – half of what is needed and half of the $2.6 billion that countries pledged at the same conference last year.