Yemen Situation Report, 2 July 2020 [EN/AR]

HIGHLIGHTS (1 Jul 2020)

  • A tragedy unfolds as funding falls short
  • COVID-19 rapidly spreading
  • COVID-19 exacerbates Yemen’s economic problems
  • Heavy rains and flooding hit southern and eastern governorates
  • Migrant arrivals plummet while anti-migrant abuse spikes leaving thousands stranded


A tragedy unfolds as funding falls short

A tragedy is unfolding in Yemen as humanitarian needs continue to grow while aid agencies are running out of money to fund life-saving assistance. Millions of people who depend on aid for survival are now hanging by a thread in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Nearly 80 per cent of the population still needs some form of humanitarian aid and protection.

More than $3.2 billion is required for humanitarian response in 2020. At the High-Level Pledging Event in Riyadh held on 2 June, donors pledged only US$1.35 billion of the $2.41 billion needed to cover essential humanitarian activities between June and December, leaving a gap of more than $1 billion.

With only $558 million provided so far, the aid operation is on the brink of collapse unless donors fulfil their pledges immediately, and without additional funding. The situation compares unfavourably with this stage in 2019, when $2.6 billion had been received for the aid operation.

Aid agencies, working closely with donors, have been engaging with authorities in Yemen, resulting in concrete steps to improve the operating environment. These steps are helping to restore confidence in the operation following a sharp deterioration in the operating environment in northern Yemen in the last six months of 2019, placing the humanitarian partnership back on firm ground. The increasingly restrictive operating environment in the second half of 2019 made it difficult to assure donors that aid was being delivered in accordance with humanitarian principles leading some donors to withhold funding.

Since mid-April, 31 of 41 of critical UN programmes have reduced or closed for lack of funding, most of them critical in the fight against COVID-19. On average, aid agencies reached only 9.5 million people with life-saving aid in April, down from 13.7 million in March and 15.6 million in December 2019. Critical water and sanitation services needed to suppress the spread of the virus and other deadly diseases will come to a halt for 8.4 million people, including 3 million children, by the end of June.

Without funding, the aid operation is expected to shrink further in August when 19 million people will lose access to healthcare, including pregnant and nursing women, and children. Five million children will miss out on vaccinations against killer diseases and public health services will collapse further. Already, at this critical time, financial incentives for 10,000 health care workers who run Yemen’s health facilities have stopped and more than 2.2 million people stand to lose access to urgent surgical assistance. Life-saving nutrition services for 2.5 million malnourished children will cease by the end of August, leaving beneficiaries acutely malnourished and 23,500 children with severe acute malnutrition at immediate risk of death.

Despite limited funding, partners continue to deliver assistance to people in need while adequate funding is sought to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. Systems and structures for a massive scale up of the response are already in place. Aid agencies in Yemen have experience of ramping up operations – in 2018, they managed one of the largest scale-ups in history reaching an unprecedented 14 million people every month, preventing large-scale famine, rolling back the worst cholera epidemic in a generation, and supporting millions of displaced people. They are ready to do this again.

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