Time is running out to avert massive famine in Yemen:
Aid workers are in a “race against time” to prevent famine threatening millions of people in Yemen, a senior U.N. official said on Monday.
“We have about three months of food stored inside the country today,” Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the World Food Programme, told reporters in Amman after a three-day visit to the war-torn country.
“We do not have enough food to support the scale-up that is required to ensure that we can avoid a famine.”
The WFP says that it urgently needs $460 million in funding to prevent the famine. That is something that Western and other governments could provide fairly easily if there were any willingness to do so, but to date international donations to aid Yemen have lagged pitifully behind the needs of the population. The larger U.N. appeal for aid continues to be shamefully underfunded:
The scale of the challenge is difficult to comprehend. The UN’s under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs updated the security council last Friday.
Stephen O’Brien says $2.1 billion (£1.7 billion) is needed this year to reach 12 million Yemenis “with life-saving assistance and protection” – but so far only 6% has been received.
The governments that bear a large share of responsibility for creating these horrific conditions should be the first to provide the needed funding, but there is virtually no pressure on them to do so. Almost the entire world is responding to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with a shrug.
It is important to remember that Yemen’s impending famine is not the result of some natural disaster, but was created by deliberate policy decisions made in Riyadh, Washington, and London. Yemen is on the brink of a huge man-made famine, and those governments bear significant responsibility for having caused it.