World Leaders urged to address Yemen’s humanitarian funding crisis ahead of UNGA

Marina from Yemen

15 September 2023


15 September 2023 – A joint statement signed by 7 UN agencies, 31 international NGOs and 60 Yemeni civil society organisations marks the first time the humanitarian and development sectors in Yemen collectively raise the alarm on the dire funding gap impacting humanitarian response efforts.

As world leaders meet at the 78th UN General Assembly in New York, Yemen’s annual Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), which sought to reach 17.3 million of the most vulnerable people in need, has less than 32 percent of the funding required.

Iman Abdullahi, Country Director of CARE Yemen, said:

“With so much happening across the globe, it could be easy to lose sight on the dire situation that organisations such as CARE are witnessing unfold across Yemen. We’re very concerned that the lack of funding is preventing us from meeting the most critical humanitarian needs and saving lives.”

CARE and other signatories call on donors to ensure humanitarian funding is made available as early as possible in the year, rather than towards the end, and at consistent intervals so that humanitarian response is not interrupted. With Yemen now at a critical juncture that could bring hope for longer term peace, the people of Yemen should be looking to the future and rebuilding their lives. Increased funding for Yemen’s thriving civil society will support the needs of Yemenis, including women and girls.

Bushra Aldukhainah, CARE Area Manager for Hajjah, said:

"It is important to remember that Yemenis are exhausted from years of conflict and have been impacted in so many ways. And it’s critical to start thinking about how to meet longer-term, development needs. We hope that in the weeks and months ahead we see signs and indications that will point towards peace in the future.

"But in the meantime, we should not forget that humanitarian needs are still very much at the forefront of the work we do. We are facing immense challenges every day and it is worrying that we cannot reach as many people because the right level of funding simply isn’t available.”

Humanitarian funding in Yemen has seen a downward trend over the last three years. In 2019, the HRP was 87 percent funded but by 2022 this fell to only 52 percent. It is expected this year will be particularly challenging with only $1.37 billion pledged out of the $4.34 billion needed to reach 17.3 million Yemenis. Following the aid budget cut, UK aid to Yemen has fallen by over 50% since 2020. Next year, FCDO’s forecast for spending in Yemen is just over half the £260 million peak in ODA in 2019.

Helen McEachern, Chief Executive of CARE International UK said:

“Across Yemen, millions of people are facing starvation, disease and water shortages. In many cases, families are receiving food packages to prevent malnutrition once every four months, instead of monthly. After more than eight years of war, we cannot turn our back on their suffering. As World Leaders meet at the UN General Assembly, I urge them to reconsider aid cuts that are already having a dire impact on living conditions.”

Helen added: “Yemeni women and girls have led their communities throughout this crisis. Their courage, resilience and persistence in the face of enormous challenges is inspiring. Yet, one woman dies every two hours during pregnancy or childbirth. Due to the lack of clean water, food and access to medical facilities, women and girls are forced into making dangerous journeys increasing the risk they will face violence or exploitation. The UK Government and its partners must step up and urgently address this funding crisis. To allow this emergency to deteriorate further would be unconscionable.”

Marina, a 22-year-old widow and mother of two children from Al-Hudaydah, said: "After the death of my husband due to the conflict, I decided to flee with my children to a safer place. We left all our belongings such as clothes and food behind. To get food for our families in this camp, many of us and hundreds of others living nearby were forced to go out and beg or work on farms in exchange for a meal. Hunger is my family’s companion in the life of displacement. In many cases, I cannot find food for my family and my children sleep hungry.”

Hashed, 39, a father of five, who fled with his family to Amran Governorate due to the conflict, said: “I’m a daily wage worker and I don’t usually find work, particularly after the war. It is hard to pay for medications in case of sickness among the family. The food basket I receive is not enough since we are 15 family members living together and that has doubled our suffering. The food basket I receive lasts us only for two weeks. When food runs out, we have to resort to eating leaves and skipping some meals altogether.”

Ali, 40, fled to Amran Governorate with his young family due to conflict, said: “We don’t have enough food and I sometimes sleep until noon to skip eating breakfast and give my portion for my children,” Ali states. “My son was born with malnutrition because my wife didn’t have sufficient nutritional intake during her pregnancy as she was supposed to. The food basket we receive is not enough for me and my family.”

Read the Joint Statement from 98 organisations ahead of the UN General Assembly.

Editor’s notes

CARE International has been present in Yemen since 1992 and operates across 14 governorates, reaching 2.8 million people a year with food security and livelihoods, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), reproductive health, women’s economic empowerment and education programs.

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