The UN food agency’s head has warned that 16 million people in Yemen are on the verge of starvation, and that food supplies for millions of people in the war-torn country will be cut in October unless additional cash arrives.
Without fresh financing, the World Food Programme (WFP) will have to cut rations for 3.2 million people in October and five million by December, David Beasley warned.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres requested $3.85 billion for Yemen this year at a virtual pledging conference co-hosted by Sweden and Switzerland on March 1. However, donors only pledged $1.7 billion, which the UN chief described as “disappointing.”
The total has risen to little over half the needed amount in the last six months.
According to the European Union, which co-hosted the session with Sweden and Switzerland on the fringes of the UN General Assembly’s annual meeting on Wednesday, the high-level conference raised around $600 million, with a $1 billion gap still present.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced an additional $290 million in humanitarian help for Yemen, while the European Union announced an additional 119 million euros (approximately $139 million) in humanitarian and development aid.
Muhsin Siddiquey, the Yemen head of Oxfam, praised the donors who made pledges and expressed optimism that the donations will be made available to assist organizations as soon as possible.
“However, once again, only a few international donors have generously put their hands in their pockets while the rest of the world looks on as Yemen descends further into hunger, poverty and an even bleaker future,” he said.