West News Wire: The United Nations reports that it has gathered around $1.2 billion of the $4.3 billion in donations it requested at a summit in Geneva to help millions of Yemenis this year.
In an effort to raise $2 billion by the end of the week, the UN made the statement on Monday.
That was Yemen’s seventh donor conference in seven years at the Geneva gathering. The UN expects that the next meeting will concentrate more on rebuilding the war-torn nation than on preventing starvation.
Speaking at the meeting, UN humanitarian director Martin Griffiths stated, “We’ve had 31 pledges declared today and these pledges equal to just about $1.2 billion,” adding, “If we can make it $2 billion by the weekend, that would be great.”
According to the UN’s estimate, more than 21.7 million people, which make up two-thirds of Yemen’s population, need humanitarian assistance this year.
Erin Hutchinson, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Yemen chief, said the world has “abandoned Yemen at this crucial crossroads” by pledging only a quarter of the amount needed.
She added, “This is woefully inadequate and gives the signal that some humans are less valuable than others.”
Yemen has been ravaged by a devastating war since 2014, which has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, both directly and indirectly, and pushed the nation to the brink of famine.
A truce that began on April 2 last year expired on October 2, but many of its provisions have held so far.
“After years of death, displacement, destruction, starvation and suffering, the truce delivered real dividends for people,” UN chief Antonio Guterres told the conference, adding, “We have a real opportunity this year to change Yemen’s trajectory and move towards peace.”
Last year, the UN raised more than $2.2 billion to help aid agencies reach nearly 11 million people across the country every month.
On Monday, Griffiths hoped it would be the last such conference, saying, “The Yemeni crisis has gone on far too long, punishing millions of innocent people who didn’t want it in the first place and deserve so much better.”
Robert Mardini, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, also said with each passing year, post-conflict recovery became tougher for Yemen.
“Even if a lasting settlement were found, humanitarian needs would remain high for years to come,” he said.