UN launches $177 million appeal to tackle mounting humanitarian crisis in Yemen

14 December 2009

The United Nations humanitarian arm today appealed for more than $177 million to provide the basic survival needs for some 1.6 million Yemenis suffering from acute poverty and a recent escalation in violent clashes in the country’s north.

The funding is needed for the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, which will allow UN agencies, national and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and their Government counterparts to provide life-saving assistance, bolster livelihoods and contribute to the stability of the country throughout 2010.

“Humanitarian needs are serious and increasing, and we fear that vital development gains are being lost,” said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Pratibha Mehta.

Yemen is a low-income, food-deficit nation, suffering from weak infrastructure, widespread poverty and unemployment, rapid population growth, low educational levels, and high gender disparities, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a news release.

The country’s dramatic humanitarian situation has been exacerbated by a renewed outbreak in armed conflict since August between Government forces and Al Houthi rebels which rages on in Sa’ada province in the north, close to the Saudi Arabian border.

Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the massive flows of internally displaced persons (IDPs) escaping the violence are straining shelter and aid resources, with the number of displaced in Al Mazrak camp doubling in just the past month to 21,000 IDPs seeking refuge in a site designed to hold up to 10,000.

OCHA noted that among the needs of Yemenis vulnerable to prolonged high food prices, an economic downturn, conflict, and climate change are food, health and nutrition services, protection, shelter, water, and sanitation and hygiene.

“This humanitarian response plan will enable some 1.3 million food-insecure people, including an estimated 200,000 displaced from the Sa’ada conflict as well as over 162,000 refugees, to meet their critical needs,” stressed Ms. Mehta, appealing for prompt and generous donor support for the plan.

The $177 million required for Yemen is part of OCHA’s $7.1 billion international Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) for the coming year to assist 48 million people across 25 countries whose lives have been wrecked by conflict and natural disasters.

Launched two weeks ago in Geneva, the CAP covers 12 of the world’s most chronic and drawn-out crises, with the largest amount – over $1 billion – sought for Sudan.

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