The cuts came after United Nations calls for $ 2.42 billion in funding decreased by 50% this week.
“In the countdown to the closure, there should be wider cuts to Yemen at a time when the country is now facing the increasing impact of the HIV epidemic on people who are already suffering from malnutrition and are not qualified to deal with it,” Liz Grande said, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs CNN, in a phone call from Sanaa, Wednesday, the capital of the divided country.
“The public health services in 189 out of the 369 hospitals in the country begin to close within three weeks. The water and sanitation services for 8.5 million people, including 3 million children, will be closed within three weeks. Nutritional support will begin for 2.5 million children Malnourished from hunger and warned from eight to ten weeks.
On Tuesday this week, donors pledged $ 1.35 billion out of the $ 2.42 billion the United Nations said Yemen needed in a virtual conference. “The worst scenario – which we are facing now – means that the death toll from the virus may exceed the total number of war, disease and hunger over the past five years. [in Yemen]Grande told CNN.
According to the Armed Conflict Site and Event Data project, more than 112,000 people have been killed in the Yemeni civil war over a five-year period – out of the dead 12,690 civilians.
Estimates of the number of people who died due to disease and malnutrition in the country varied widely. But the United Nations and other relief organizations are providing humanitarian assistance to 10 million Yemenis. The United Nations believes that a cholera epidemic has already infected 110,000 people this year.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the conference on Tuesday that four out of every five Yemenis need “life-saving assistance”, adding that Yemen faces one of the highest mortality rates in the world from “Covid 19”. The country has little ability to test for coronavirus, but medical aid agencies also believe that the scale of infection can be broad.
Health services for women giving birth this week were closed in 150 hospitals with United Nations support in the first wave of cuts after the funding conference.
The five-year Yemeni civil war has incited the Houthi rebels to the internationally recognized government, which is backed by the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this year, Emiratis withdrew their military forces from the conflict, but they continue to support the government, which is in exile in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Riyadh continued to support and finance tribal militias and its air force had a punitive impact on the ground.
Much of the shortfall in new financing is due to the apparent failure of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait to make a joint commitment that amounted to about $ 1.5 billion in previous years. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have not provided any funds this year for the efforts of the United Nations, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has offered $ 500 million, of which $ 300 million will be earmarked specifically for the United Nations.
Saudi Arabia has been keen to get out of quicksand since late last year. The war undermined Saudi Arabia’s support in Washington, where a renewal of arms supplies to the United Kingdom from the United States was possible only as a result of the Trump administration’s use of emergency powers to circumvent the arms embargo to Saudi Arabia imposed by Congress. .
Some diplomats believe that cutting off the Gulf states ’funding to the United Nations may be, in part, an attempt to force the Houthis into peace talks.
Aid has often been diverted to areas controlled by the Houthis and tampered with by the rebel administration in Sanaa. The United Nations World Food Program has repeatedly complained of the Houthis’ transformation of food – and the United States cut funding for the program to impose improvement.
US support, 225 million dollars, was not returned to the World Food Program until recently after the Houthis agreed to stop harassing aid workers and a wide range of “taxes” on aid coming to the area under their control.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates say they want to continue to help Yemen with assistance, but they insist that they should not be diverted to the Houthi war effort. In the UAE, it is understood that the government is trying to find ways to continue financing aid operations.
“The UAE has spared no effort in providing medical assistance to support the countries affected by Covid-19 through cooperation with international organizations, as UAE assistance amounted to 135 million dollars from the beginning of March to the end of May,” Reem Al Hashemi, Emirati Minister of International Cooperation, said in a statement to CNN.
“Moreover, the Emirati Red Crescent continues to work in Yemen to lend a helping hand to our Yemeni brothers, and we deeply regret the loss of two of its employees at the hands of the terrorists in March. However, this will not prevent us from providing assistance.” Al-Hashemi added “the mission and humanitarian duty.”
But it is not clear to UN officials how this “duty” can be fulfilled, while a senior UN official said, “Our operations are nearing collapse.”