Yemeni children cheer as a worker wearing a protective outfit sprays disinfectant on a car in Sanaa on Friday. AFP
A range of aid programmes in war-ravaged Yemen, including ones responding to coronavirus, could be cut in the coming weeks because of funding shortages, the UN warned on Friday.
The United Nations and Saudi Arabia will host a donor conference on June 2 in a bid to boost support for Yemen, which was already facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis before the pandemic struck.
"We are urging the donors to pledge generously, and those who have given an indication of pledges to actually pay early because the operation in Yemen is severely, severely underfunded," Jens Laerke, a spokesman with the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA, told a virtual press conference.
"We are heading towards a fiscal cliff," he warned.
"If we do not get the money coming in, the programmes that are keeping people alive and that are very much essential to fight back against COVID will have to close."
Laerke said the UN estimated it needed some $2 billion to keep essential programmes running in Yemen for the remainder of the year.
He said just $677 million had been donated so far this year, compared with over $4 billion during 2019.
"Yemen is really on the brink right now. The situation is extremely alarming," Laerke said.
He said more than 30 key UN programmes were at risk of closing in the coming weeks due to the lack of funding.
They include the COVID Rapid Response Teams, which had only enough funding to keep going for six more weeks, he said.
Yemen has officially recorded 184 cases and 30 deaths so far, but medical charity Doctors Without Borders said this week at least 68 virus patients had died at its Aden facility in the first half of May alone — calling it the "tip of the iceberg."
Laerke agreed, telling journalists Friday that the UN was "working on the assumption that there is already widespread communal transmission going on".
He said epidemiologists think the virus could spread faster and with deadlier consequences in the war-torn country.
Yemen's healthcare system has been blighted by years of conflict that has driven millions from their homes.
The conflict between government forces and the Iran-backed Houthis escalated in March 2015, when a Saudi-led military coalition intervened against the rebels after they overran much of the country.
Laerke said the UN had voiced concerns "forcefully and vocally" over alleged abuses committed by all sides but stressed that Saudi Arabia was by far the largest humanitarian donor to Yemen in recent years.
"They gave very large amounts of money. They gave it unconditionally, no strings attached," he said, adding that the billions in Saudi donations had helped fight cholera outbreaks and looming famines.
Having Saudi Arabia co-host the event "is a normal choice based on that background," he said.Agence France-Presse
The ERC aims to restore, maintain and build strategic central water projects in many populated areas, which were welcomed by local residents.
Reem Bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, noted that the UAE is conducting an ongoing review of the humanitarian situation in Yemen in coordination with international organisations, in particular monitoring indicators of health, food security, and malnutrition.
Dubai will host one of ten simultaneous live events organised by Global Citizen, the international organisation that aims to build a movement to end extreme poverty by 2030.
The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, which is hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), says $16.1 billion are new commitments to address COVID-19, $2.2 billion is new money not linked to the coronavirus, and $2.3 billion is new funding for existing programmes.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill held a fiery media conference in which he lashed out at Shirazi for criticising the government’s economic policies in her article.
Sheikh Mohammed exchanged cordial conversations with Simonyte about the bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to advance economic relations towards a new stage that achieves the interests of the two countries and their development aspirations in various fields of common interest, foremost of which are the sectors of advanced technology, innovation, and renewable energy.
This was announced by the Seismology Department of the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), which monitors earthquake activities in the United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied during the visit by his sons, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, and Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.