Yemen secured another set of donor pledges Thursday (Sept. 27) at the fourth Friends of Yemen meeting in New York. But only a slim amount has been allocated for the “hunger crisis” affecting some 10 million people in the strife-torn country.
A total of $500 million from Qatar will be used to address the humanitarian situation in Yemen, according to Yemen news agency Saba. But the bulk of the $1.46 billion in new aid pledges will go to the country’s long-term recovery:
$500 million from Kuwait and $150 million from the United Arab Emirates for development projects.
$120 million from the International Monetary Fund for Yemen’s political and economic stability.
$80 million from France for Yemen’s political transition.
$5 million from Australia for food security projects.
Netherlands and Denmark also pledged $100 million and $10 million for Yemen at the conference, but it is not clear how the funds will be used.
These new aid commitments bring total pledges to Yemen to $7.9 billion. But the amount is still short of the $11 billion the Yemeni government said it needs to balance its budget — although the World Bank said it should be sufficient to meet the “shortfalls” in the government’s economic reconstruction plan.
Eight humanitarian organizations — Oxfam, Mercy Corps, Islamic Relief, CARE International, Merlin, International Medical Corps, Yemen Relief and Development Forum, and the Humanitarian Forum — released a joint statement before the donor conference to draw attention to the “worsening humanitarian crisis” in the country. Malnutrition rates in Yemen’s Hodeidah district alone were “nothing short of shocking.”
Malnutrition in Hodeidah is “at double the level normally considered to be an emergency,” Gabor Beszterczey said in a press release. He heads the international health charity Merlin in Asia.
Meanwhile, Oxfam’s Kelly Gilbride called on donors to ensure a “significant portion” of the pledged funds be channeled to emergency needs in the country. This would help aid organizations continue their aid operations in Yemen.
A fraction of the $6.4 billion pledged in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, will be enough to fully fund the U.N. appeal, the aid agencies said.
The United Nation’s $585 million humanitarian response plan for Yemen, launched in December, is only 49 percent funded as of Sept. 28. The global body, aid agencies said, is expected to request an additional $92 million in “the coming months” to address needs in Abyan province, which has suffered heavy fighting between government troops and Ansar al-Sharia militants.
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