Sana’a, 28 July 2020 – The European Union contributed EUR 5 million to UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, to provide emergency relief for displaced persons and life-saving reproductive health and mental health services to the most vulnerable women and girls in Yemen. The funds will allow UNFPA to continue providing critical services at a time when a severe funding shortage and the rapid spread of COVID-19 are crippling UNFPA’s humanitarian efforts in the country.
The health system, particularly for reproductive health, is collapsing, as COVID-19 continues to spread swiftly across the country with far reaching consequences on women and girls. Nearly half of all health facilities have been forced to close, or are only partially functioning. Only 20 per cent of the health facilities provide maternal and child health services. One in five people suffer from mental disorders due to the on-going crisis and nearly half a million people have experienced displacement since 2019.
“Women and girls in Yemen are particularly at risk due to on-going fighting, the coronavirus outbreak and collapsing services,” said Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management. “The EU is more than ever committed to ensuring life-saving assistance gets through to those who are most in need. This humanitarian contribution to UNFPA will ensure the continuity of critical sexual and reproductive health services and also help survivors of sexual violence.”
This contribution will enable UNFPA to reach nearly 400,000 individuals across eight governorates, providing emergency obstetric and maternal health care; mental health services in two specialized psychological care centres, and emergency assistance through the UNFPAled Rapid Response Mechanism when fighting leads to new displacement.
The European Union has been a major contributor to UNFPA’s humanitarian response in Yemen, providing more than EUR 19 million since 2018.
“Amid so much suffering in Yemen, the consequences of inaction have never been so stark. More women and girls are being displaced and more are in urgent need of reproductive health and protection services – all at a time when the country is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem. “Thanks to the generous contribution of the European Union, we will be able to provide these life-saving services to hundreds of thousands of women and girls.”
Nearly 80 per cent of UNFPA’s reproductive health programme in Yemen has been suspended since May 2020 due to a shortage of funding. To keep reaching the most vulnerable women and girls, UNFPA requires US$100.5 million in 2020. To date, only 52 per cent of funding has been received.
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