x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Violence and shortage of funds hits Yemen aid

UN warns that security situation and funding shortfalls mean aid workers are struggling to help beleaguered population of north Yemen.

NEW YORK // The United Nations has warned that a "volatile security situation" and funding shortfalls mean aid workers are struggling to provide food, medicine and decent sanitation to the beleaguered population of north Yemen. The aid warning comes following some of the deadliest clashes between the al Houthi rebels and a government-backed tribal militia since February, when a truce was agreed to put an end to six years of sporadic violence.

"The United Nations remains concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen, where resources are not commensurate with humanitarian needs," said spokesman Martin Nesirky on Thursday. "So far this year we have received only 36 per cent of the US$187 million [Dh687m] required for assistance in Yemen." The UN estimates that about 340,000 Yemenis were displaced following the so-called "sixth war" between the central government and the Houthi rebels, adherents of Shia Islam who complain of being sidelined by a Sunni-dominated Sana'a.

Officials are currently counting those displaced across the five war-struck provinces, Hajjah, Amran, Sa'ada, Al Jawf and Sana'a, to devise a resettlement strategy for the many people staying with friends and relatives by the middle of August. "Aid workers remain concerned that the current coverage of food aid in Sa'ada may be discontinued in August due to lack of funds," said a spokesman for the UN's aid office. "This is all the more troubling as a high percentage of children under-five are already malnourished, and there is need for therapeutic feeding centres and ready to use therapeutic food."

jreinl@thenational.ae