Funding crisis threatens UN aid efforts in Yemen

A group of forcibly displaced people in north Yemen.

5 February 2010 – Two United Nations agencies today warned that a lack of funding is hampering their efforts to assist the estimated 250,000 civilians uprooted by conflict in Yemen, with the UN refugee agency saying it has received less than three per cent of the needed cash.

“We are facing a dramatic funding situation in Yemen and may be forced to scale down our operations for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) there if we do not receive fresh contributions very soon,” Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.

To date UNHCR has received less than three per cent of the $35.6 million it requested as part of the 2010 UN consolidated appeal for Yemen, where civilians have been caught up in the fighting that resumed last August between Government forces and Al Houthi rebels.

“We are deeply concerned that unless there is a prompt and adequate response from donors, the lack of funding will very soon have a direct impact on our work to protect and assist some 250,000 IDPs and more than 170,000 refugees in Yemen,” said Ms. Fleming.

The agency said the funding crisis reduces its capacity to register and document refugees and IDPs, to monitor their situation and to address their needs.

The funds requested are also needed to expand the existing, already overpopulated IDP camps and to build new ones, to organize and provide shelter materials, and provide basic relief items such as blankets, mattresses and hygienic kits.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) said today that due to a lack of donor support, it has provided a loan of $4 million from its own internal resources to support its operation in Yemen. The funds will be used to address the hunger needs of the displaced for a number of weeks.

In addition, WFP will be speaking to a number of donors in the region to seek their support for operations in Yemen.

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