The United Nations is urging more humanitarian aid for Yemen, another country in the Middle East mired in conflict and severe hunger. Yesterday, the UN said only about 44 percent of its humanitarian aid appeal for Yemen has been funded.
In a statement released yesterday, UN relief coordinator Valerie Amos said, "Yemen is a country wracked by chronic poverty and underdevelopment, and millions of Yemenis are struggling to cope. People need food, water, education and health care. But they also want to know that there is investment to secure their future. We urgently need more funding to help those in need.”
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is leading the hunger relief program in Yemen. The UN food agency is feeding around five million Yemenis according to director Ertharin Cousin.
Yesterday Cousin stated, "We will continue this vital food assistance by improving food security and nutrition but at the same time helping build resilience of these communities. We are working to ensure families themselves are able to take care of their food needs through food for work, food for training and other income generating activities."
The difficulty WFP continually faces is funding. The UN food agency, which relies on voluntary contributions, is facing a massive humanitarian crisis in Syria as well as large operations in a number of other countries. Donations from the U.S. Food for Peace program have helped feed millions of Yemenis. However, shortages remain. The WFP Food for Education program in Yemen, for example, is facing a near 90 percent shortfall in funding. This initiative provides take-home rations to school children.
UNICEF is tackling the most severe child malnutrition cases in Yemen, which has some of the highest rates of stunting in the world. A recent UNICEF report stated that this year 60,956 children with severe acute malnutrition had been enrolled in a relief program. Of those enrolled, 25,012 had been cured, but 180 died and over 16,000 children did not complete or did not respond to treatment.