Lack of funds forces UN to close Yemen aid programmes
The UN announced on Wednesday that it is being forced to close several humanitarian programmes in Yemen, because money committed by Member States has “failed to materialise”.
The announcement was made by Lise Grandi, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, who said that “when money doesn’t come, people die.”
At a pledging event for Yemen held in February, $2.6 billion was promised to meet the urgent needs of some 20 million Yemenis. To date, less than half of that amount has been received.
Of the 34 major UN humanitarian programmes in Yemen, only three are funded for the entire year. Several have closed in recent weeks, and many large-scale projects designed to help destitute, hungry families, are on hold.
Another 22 life-saving programmes will close in the next two months unless funding is received.
UN chief expresses concern at ‘new wave of human suffering’ in last Syrian rebel-held city
The prospect of a fresh offensive in Idlib, Syria, the last opposition-held stronghold in the country, could unleash a “new wave of human suffering”, UN chief António Guterres declared on Wednesday.
The Secretary-General said in a statement that he is “deeply troubled’ by the continued escalation in northwest Syria, which could impact up to three million civilians.
Mr. Guterres strongly condemned ongoing attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including healthcare and educational facilities, and urged all parties to respect international humanitarian law.
The heightened threat of conflict in Idlib follows the collapse of a truce between warring parties earlier this month.
Somalia security remains a concern, head of UN Mission warns Security Council
Despite “encouraging” developments, insecurity across Somalia remains a serious concern, James Swan, head of the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), warned the Security Council, in his first briefing to the world body since taking office.
Mr. Swan noted the effectiveness of the collaboration between the UN and international partners, and the Somali Security Forces working with the African Union Mission in Somalia, which has seen areas near the capital Mogadishu taken back from terror group al-Shabab, and stabilized.
However, he noted that terrorism remains a threat to progress, citing the deadly al-Shabab attack on the offices of the mayor of Mogadishu in July, which killed and injured several Government officials.
Mr. Swan also reiterated that the UN is resolved to helping Somalia overcome the security, economic and humanitarian challenges it is facing:
Building sustainable peace and stability in a country that has suffered the trauma and shocks that Somalia has experienced, over many decades, will take perseverance and patience. With the continued support of this Council, and the wider international community, UNSOM remains committed to assisting Somalis on their journey towards a peaceful and prosperous future.