x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

International community is failing to provide support

United Nations aid chiefs warn that donors are failing to fund relief efforts in Yemen and they may have to reduce support to those displaced by fighting.

NEW YORK // United Nations aid chiefs warn that donors are failing to fund relief efforts in Yemen and they may have to reduce support to those displaced by fighting between government and rebel forces in Arabia's poorest nation. An estimated 250,000 people have fled their homes since 2004, when marginalised Zaidi Shias took up arms against their leaders in Sana'a. About half have been displaced since the latest round of fighting erupted in August, according to UN figures.

Sir John Holmes, the United Nations emergency relief co-dinator, warned that a US$177 million (Dh650.1m) appeal for humanitarian aid in Yemen launched late last year has only received 0.4 per cent of the funds it needs. "The humanitarian situation is just getting worse without any doubt," he told Reuters in Geneva last week. "Needs are great and in danger of not being met because the international community, the donors, have not responded as we would have hoped."

The UN's World Food Programme, which feeds displaced Yemenis and many of the 150,000 Somali refugees in Yemen, has warned that its "food pipeline is about to break and they will have to reduce the numbers they are helping", Sir John said. The UN's refugee agency warned that they may have to "scale down" operations, by providing fewer tents, blankets and plastic sheeting to those displaced by the violence and now living in cramped camps for the internally displaced.

Continued violence in Somalia is expected to increase the number of Somali refugees spilling across their borders into neighbouring countries, now estimated to be in the region of 560,000. Some 120,000 Somalis sought refuge abroad last year, mainly in Yemen, Kenya and Ethiopia. @Email:jreinl@thenational.ae