UN agencies emphasize need to honor pledges to Yemen promptly

United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Deputy Spokesperson Jens Laerke.
United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Deputy Spokesperson Jens Laerke.

GENEVA/RIYADH — The United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Deputy Spokesperson Jens Laerke emphasized here Saturday the significance of donors' honoring their pledges to provide Yemen with (financial) support, as soon as possible.

The pledged amount would be earmarked to alleviate the suffering of millions of Yemenis, due to displacement, malnutrition and outbreak of diseases, especially the spread of novel coronavirus.

During a press conference in Geneva, he pointed out that provided the pledged funds are collected, about 200 agencies, concertedly working through a joint strategy, would manage to deliver foods and medical care to around 3.6 million displaced and provide vulnerable communities with other vital amenities, across the country.

He also warned that lack of required funds would decrease complementary food to 1.7 children and pregnant women, a fact that may lead to unavoidable deaths.

Mobile teams and malnutrition treatment centers may be squeezed to downsize their services or even terminate them. Drinking water and sewerage service, in the main cities in Yemen could be affected, exposing millions of children to water-borne diseases such as Cholera.

The World Food Program (WFP) Senior Communications Consultant and senior spokesperson Elizabeth Byrs reaffirmed, during the conference, that the world community has provided Yemen with unprecedented levels of support, during the past 5 years.

However, WFP needs $200 million per month to fund its programs there, and it was shouldering its responsibilities, as much as possible, in order to not to let down any child or mother. She also drew attention that COVID-19 too poses threat to Yemeni children.

And Shabia Mantoo, global spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), said that the commission needs $89.4 to keep currently administered live-saving aid programs functioning, stressing that without securing such funds the commission may downsize the programs, badly affecting almost one million refugees and displaced in Yemen.

‘Donor program for Yemen

continuation of Saudi support’

In Riyadh, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen and General Supervisor of the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen (SPDRY) Mohammad Bin Saeed Al-Jaber affirmed that Saudi Arabia would continue to support Yemen.

He reiterated that the Kingdom is the largest donor to the humanitarian response plans, either to the United Nations in Yemen or directly to Yemen.

Al-Jaber considered Saudi Arabia organizing, in partnership with the United Nations, the Donors Conference for Yemen 2020, and next Tuesday as a continuation of the Saudi support to the Yemeni people during the past decades.

He said, "In light of the poor humanitarian conditions as a result of the coup of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia and the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the world, Saudi Arabia will contribute $ 500 million to the UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen, including $25 million to combat the coronavirus."

He stated that the Coalition to Support the Legitimacy in Yemen will work alongside the legitimate government to continue to facilitate procedures for the supply of food, medicine and bioenergy materials through the port of Hodeida to ensure that these supplies reach their intended destinations and to assist the Yemeni people in these extraordinary global circumstances.

Al-Jaber pointed out that the Kingdom's support to Yemen was not limited to providing food and humanitarian assistance to millions of beneficiaries through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center and the rest of the regional and international humanitarian organizations, but rather exceeded to support of the Central Bank of Yemen by $2.2 billion to improve the economic situation and stability of the rate of exchange of the Yemeni riyal.

The Saudi support has been directed to 7 areas: health, education, energy, transport, water, agriculture and fisheries, which would support the economy and stabilize security and stability and provide job opportunities for Yemenis.

He explained that the projects included 18 health projects, 45 educational projects, 30 projects in the water sector, 26 projects in the government buildings sector, 23 projects in the transportation sector, 20 projects in the energy sector and 13 projects in the fisheries sector and benefited hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people in several Yemeni governorates. — SPA