Humanitarian Groups Demand Trump Reverse Yemen Aid Freeze

Top humanitarian groups are pressuring the Trump administration to drop a month’s long aid suspension in Yemen, according to a letter obtained by Foreign Policy, as the spread of Coronavirus has again left the war-torn nation teetering on famine and economic collapse.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) halted programs in northern Yemen in March, just days after Foreign Policy reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressured the United Nations to scale back vital aid over, targeting the humanitarian situation.

“In such dire circumstances, it is not justifiable to withhold funding for some humanitarian activities in order to leverage improved operating conditions for others,” says the letter to acting USAID Administrator John Barsa, signed by the leaders of the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Scott Paul of the humanitarian organization Oxfam America told Foreign Policy. “The COVID crisis has introduced another massive layer of fear, confusion, and death into this mix.” The U.N. predicts that the number of Yemenis experiencing acute food insecurity will jump to 3.2 million by the end of this year. The U.S. suspension has compounded funding gaps.

Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock conceded last month that the aid effort is “frankly on the verge of collapse