UN: Yemen’s Health System Collapsing, Famine’s Spectra Returning

By Staff- Agencies

The United Nations warned on Wednesday that critical aid was cut at 300 health centers across Yemen because of a lack of funding, with lifesaving food distribution also reduced.

Between April and August, more than one-third of the UN’s important humanitarian programs in Yemen was reduced or shut down entirely, the UN said, warning of further drastic cuts “in coming weeks unless additional funding is received”.

Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said only $1bn of the $3.2bn necessary had been received.

“It’s an impossible situation,” Grande said. “This is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, yet we don’t have the resources we need to save the people who are suffering and will die if we don’t help.”

Yemen has been in left in ruins by six years of war and tens of thousands of people – mostly civilians – have been killed.

The UN says at least 24 million people – more than three-quarters of Yemen’s population – need aid and protection.

“The consequences of under-funding are immediate, enormous and devastating,” Grande said.

“Nearly every humanitarian worker has had to tell a hungry family or someone who is ill that we can’t help them because we don’t have funding.”

Last week, two top UN officials told the Security Council of their fears for the declining situation in Yemen.

Mark Lowcock, the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, warned that the “spectra of famine” had also returned in Yemen.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths said Yemen could “slip back away from the road to peace” and pointed to “increased fighting, greater humanitarian needs, and the COVID-19 pandemic” as among the challenges facing the country.