Yemen crisis: Donors must put their money where their mouth is
March 02 2017 08:57 PM

The failure on the part of the donor countries to provide prompt funding for the relief operations has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
The worsening situation in the country requires intensified efforts to lift the suffering of the civilian population there. 
According to United Nations data on the relief situation and the funding allocation for Yemen, as much as $123.8mn has been pledged under the 2017 response plan for those displaced and fleeing from the war. But the donor countries have not fulfilled their commitment. Until early last week (February 21, 2017), only $4.3mn has been provided, less than 1% of the target. 
A report by the International Crisis Group for February said that the atrocities committed by Houthi militants and the Ali Abdullah Saleh militia in Yemen have resulted in one of the most severe humanitarian catastrophes in the world. 
The report added that between 70% and 80% of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance and more than half the population (26mn) are facing food insecurity. 
Taiz tops the list of Yemeni cities affected by the indiscriminate shelling and siege, imposed by Houthi and Saleh militia more than two years. 
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that number of displaced people in Taiz is around 44,000, of whom 28,000 have fled in search of safety in other areas within the province, while the rest managed to escape through the blockade to neighbouring provinces. The number of displaced people is expected to increase in the coming period due to the continuation of hostilities and fighting. 
The UNHCR is working with its partners to collect emergency aid to provide help and assistance for the displaced. The UNHCR and its partners are facing many challenges, including fierce fighting and ongoing military operations which hinder humanitarian access. 
A report issued on Saturday by the World Health Organisation (WHO) described the situation in different Yemeni cities as ‘deteriorating’, pointing out that doctors in Hodeida, the third largest city in Yemen, are working under extremely difficult circumstances. They haven’t been paid for five months, and health facilities there are suffering from acute shortages of fuel and medicine supplies. 
In light of the prevailing security situation and military operations around Hodeida, it has become difficult for the patients of the city to get proper medical treatment, as the only hospital - Al-Thawra -, which has a capacity of 320 beds, cannot accommodate the growing number people who need treatment. That number is in excess of 1,500 cases daily. 
The UN report quoted Dr Khalid Sohail, director of Al-Thawra Hospital, as saying that the hospital is on the verge of closing due to funding deficits and lack of fuel and medical supplies. 
WHO Acting Representative in Yemen Dr Nevio Zagaria said that more than 14.8mn people cannot get proper medical care. About 55% of health facilities in Yemen are out of service, and the remaining 45% are working part-time, of which 17% are without medical or nursing staff. Also 274 hospitals have been  completely destroyed by Houthi’s forces, forcing doctors, staff and psychiatrists to leave the country. 
With regard to food crisis in the cities of Yemen, the figures indicate that the number of people affected has increased by 150% since 2014, a total of 4.5mn people, including 2mn children, a quarter of them suffer almost from respiratory diseases. 
The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen should serve as a wake-up call to all donors. The need of the hour is action and not mere lip service.

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