United Nations agencies working in Yemen have called for financial help, suggesting most of their programmes in the country face running out of money “within weeks”, following a slump in donations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
They have been working to curtail the humanitarian crisis caused by a civil war between the government and rebel troops, alongside the health crisis caused by Covid-19.
“Tragically, we do not have enough money to continue this work,” the heads of 17 international aid organisations said in a joint statement.
“Of 41 major UN programmes in Yemen, more than 30 will close in the next few weeks if we cannot secure additional funds. This means many more people will die.”
Last year, the UN received $3.2bn for Yemen, but so far this year it has only received $474m.
The programmes “have never had so little money” at this point in the year, the group said, adding that they need $2.41bn to cover essential activities until the end of the year, including its work to counter Covid-19.
“We have the skills, staff and capacity to [keep the humanitarian situation stable]. What we don’t have is the money,” they said.
Official figures show 50 people have died with Covid-19 in Yemen, but the group believes low capacity for testing and insufficient reporting mean the virus is spreading rapidly across the country, and has probably reached all regions.