UN: 50% of Yemenis need urgent assistance
Approximately 13 million Yemenis are unable to access clean and safe drinking water. (AFP/File)
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An UN official has issued a new warning about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen ahead of a gathering of international donors in London that expected to put this issue on the table.
Johannes van der Klaauw, UNHCR Yemen Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator, said that the country is in need of about $592 million (Dh2.17 billion) as an emergency humanitarian fund to respond to the humanitarian crisis.
The government-run Saba news agency quoted the UN official as saying that nearly half of Yemen population is in pressing need of humanitarian aid.
“About 13 million Yemenis are unable to access clean and safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Moreover, about 10 million Yemenis are unable to get enough food”.
Der Klaauw also said that more than a million children in Yemen are suffering from malnutrition and food insecurity.
The official said that the UN office in Yemen has put forth a plan to help 7.6m people by giving them food, health services, clean water, proper sanitation and provided protection for vulnerable displaced people women and children.
Last year, the UN provided food to five millions and helped 350,000 hungry children and 600,000 people got permanent clean water. Klaauw warned that if the humanitarian crisis was not addressed, it would have negative impact in the government’s economical and developmental policies.
Also, Ahmad Al Kohlani, a Yemeni official responsible for internally displaced persons (IDPs) said that the number of people who have been displaced from internal conflicts has reached 500,000 people.
Thousands of Yemenis fled their homes in the northern province of Saada following six intermittent wars between government forces and Houthi rebels between 2004-2010. But as the province calmed down, the rebels also engaged in bloody clashes with some tribesmen last year in the province of Amran. The conflict also sent more than a thousand families out of their homes.
In the south, another thousands of families fled the fighting between army and Al Qaida militants in 2012. Al Qaida in the country cashed in on the insecurity in the country and stormed many cities in southern Shabwa and Abyan provinces. The government forces launched an all-out offensive on Al Qaida in 2012, forcing thousands of people to take shelter in some southern port cities.
Yemen has placed high hopes on Tuesday’s conference of Friends of Yemen in London. The country seeks urgent cash to offset budget deficit and fund programmes related to the recommendations of the National Dialogue Conference.