(Photo credit: AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
UN officials have warned that as many as eight million Yemenis are set to lose all humanitarian aid next month unless urgent funds are delivered to the war-torn nation.
UN special envoy Hans Grundberg and UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told the UN Security Council on 15 February that, since the start of this year, close to two thirds of the organization’s aid programs have been completely cut or scaled back just as aggression by the Saudi-led coalition has seen an uptick.
In particular, Grundberg pointed to a coalition airstrike last month at a prison in Saada, calling it “the worst civilian casualty incident in three years.”
The UN officials also highlighted that over recent months Riyadh has increased its airstrikes on residential areas in Sanaa and Hodeidah, with official figures showing that over 650 civilians were killed in January alone.
Last year the UN humanitarian office received only $2.27 billion of its $3.85 billion requirements to provide aid for Yemeni civilians, the lowest funding level since the onset of the war in 2015.
Meanwhile, in December, the World Food Programme was forced to reduce rations for eight million Yemenis. By March, those millions of civilians are likely to lose all access to food aid.
The UN has also warned they may have to cancel most humanitarian flights to and from Yemen next month.
The funding shortages could also deprive 3.6 million people of safe drinking water and put an end to programs to combat gender-based violence and promote reproductive health.
For seven years, Yemen has been mired in a brutal war after Saudi Arabia and its closest allies launched a siege on the nation aiming to oust the Ansarallah resistance movement from power.
Since then, hundreds of thousands have been killed by the violence and millions more have been displaced, in what the UN has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.