Yemen Humanitarian Update Issue 5 (May 2020)


  • Pledging conference makes urgent plea for US$2.41 billion to save lives
  • Alarming deterioration in the COVID-19 situation P 02 COVID-19 threatens food availability
  • Fighting continues to kill and injure civilians despite the UN Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire
  • Yemen Humanitarian Fund partners respond to COVID-19

Pledging conference makes urgent plea for US$2.41 billion to save lives

On 2 June, the United Nations (UN) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will hold a ground-breaking virtual High-Level Pledging Event to garner support for the humanitarian response in Yemen. The 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan Extension, to be launched at the pledging event, is seeking US$2.41 billion to assist 19 million people with life-saving aid between June and December 2020. This amount includes $180 million to support COVID-19 response.

Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The cumulative impact of more than 5 years of conflict, economic decline and institutional collapse has left 24 million people – about 80 per cent of the population – in need of humanitarian aid and protection. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading rapidly and exacerbating the humanitarian situation. With needs outstripping funds, there is an added sense of urgency for the High-Level Pledging Event. Aid agencies, working closely with donors, have engaged with the authorities and made progress in addressing obstacles that have hindered a principled aid operation prompting key donors to withhold funding. Since mid-April, more than 30 core UN programmes were down-sized and some closed, putting the lives of millions of people who depend on aid every month on the line.

Already, at the start of 2020, the number of people reached with assistance each month had decreased from an average of 15.2 million people per month in the last quarter of 2019 to 13.5 million in the first two months of the year – a decrease in assistance was reported in 155 districts in 21 governorates with Sana’a, Dhamar, and Ibb governorates and Sana’a City worst affected. If aid agencies are unable to scale up again, millions of lives will be at serious risk and the situation will be catastrophic for those already facing malnutrition, food insecurity and disease.

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic heralds another potential tragedy, low immunity levels across the population makes the preservation of large-scale aid programmes in the health, WASH, nutrition and other sectors vital if millions of vulnerable people are to withstand the virus.

In 2019, humanitarian programmes made an enormous difference. Large-scale assistance played a central role in saving lives and addressing human suffering, including preventing famine, stopping a cholera epidemic and helping families fleeing violence. Lack of resources and a complex operating environment are threatening to reverse these gains and millions will suffer if the UN, working with partners, is unable to deliver on its mandate because of lack of funding. Aid agencies in Yemen are calling on donors to pledge generously to the humanitarian operation on 2 June and pay pledges promptly

You might also like