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KEY HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE SECTORS REMAIN CRITICALLY UNDERFUNDED
Yemen remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, where protracted conflict, widespread displacement, severe food insecurity, economic stagnation, the collapse of state institutions, and restrictive humanitarian access, coupled with natural hazards and the COVID-19 pandemic, have triggered extremely high levels of humanitarian and protection needs. More than 20 million people – about two-thirds of the population – need humanitarian assistance. However, despite such staggering needs, the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) remains only around 50 per cent funded. Crucially, as of 31 August, several critical humanitarian response sectors have received less than 15 per cent of the funds needed to respond to the needs of millions of vulnerable people, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), women and children and people with disabilities.
The Health Cluster aims to provide health assistance to 11.6 million people in need under the 2021 Yemen HRP. It is also working to strengthen the health system in Yemen, which has been further weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet it remains severely underfunded, having received only 10.8 per cent of the funds required to save lives and enhance the health, safety and dignity of conflictaffected people.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) partners have so far received only 8 per cent of the funds needed to meet the needs of 11.2 million vulnerable people in 2021. Without additional timely funding, they will not be able to adequately reduce the risk of WASH-related diseases, improve public health and preserve the life and dignity of vulnerable population groups, including IDPs, returnees and host communities.
Partners providing protection services to civilians facing serious protection risks to their safety, well-being, and the realization of their basic rights are also contending with severe funding shortages. These partners have so far received only 14.9 per cent of the funding they need, undermining their ability to assist 8.6 million people, including IDPs, women and children, older people, people with disabilities and marginalized groups such as the Muhamasheen.
Aid organizations providing services to more than 4 million displaced people have so far received minuscule levels of funding compared with existing needs. While partners providing shelter support to displaced people are 15.4 per cent funded, those working to provide newly displaced people with Rapid Response Mechanism assistance – i.e., a minimum package of critical life-saving assistance provided within the first 72 hours of displacement – are only 8.5 per cent funded. Furthermore, only 4.3 per cent of the funds needed to ensure that 1,700 IDP sites, hosting more than a million people, are safer, more habitable and better organized, have been received to date. Meanwhile, the refugees and migrants multisector has so far received just 4.7 percent of the funds needed to reduce the protection risks facing migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and provide them with sustained support to enhance their wellbeing and dignity.
And although more than 2.25 million children under 5 and over a million pregnant and breastfeeding women are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021, Nutrition Cluster partners have so far received only 29.2 per cent of the required funding.
This critical issue was stressed by Martin Griffiths in his first briefing to the UN Security Council in his new role as the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. After noting that even food assistance to people in need in Yemen – which is some 55 per cent funded –will probably face cuts by October if further funding is not urgently provided, Mr. Griffiths emphasized that “programmes in other sectors – especially health, water, sanitation and shelter – are already struggling. And if aid levels fall sharply, there you get the risk of famine roaring back.”
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.