$3.9 billion needed to help war-torn Yemen

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United Nations (United States) (AFP) – The United Nations will need about $3.9 billion this year to help millions of people in war-torn Yemen, a senior UN humanitarian official said on Wednesday.

Acting Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ramesh Rajasingham told the UN Security Council that “the biggest constraint right now is funding” to help some 16 million people in Yemen, where a civil war has raged for more than seven years.

“I call on all donors to maintain – and if possible increase – their support this year,” Rajasingham said.

He added that funding had declined in recent years, with last year’s response plan only 58% funded and the United Nations World Food Program in December announcing cuts to its assistance budget for eight million people.

“Other vital programs including water, protection and reproductive health services have also been forced to scale back or close in recent weeks due to lack of funds,” Rajasingham said.

In addition to funding, humanitarian access and security also remain major obstacles to aid.

Yemen’s civil war began in 2014 when Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa, prompting Saudi forces to step in to support the government the following year.

The UN has estimated that the war has killed 377,000 people by the end of 2021, directly and indirectly through hunger and disease.

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