With nearly two-thirds of war-torn Yemen – about 19 million people – in need of emergency support, the international community on Tuesday raised $1.1 billion at a pledging event in Geneva to aid what the United Nations chief calls “the world’s largest hunger crisis.”
The aim was to bridge a funding gap in the 2017 humanitarian appeal of $2.1 billion.
Prior to the conference, only about 15 per cent had been met.
“We are witnessing the starving and the crippling of an entire generation. We must act now, to save lives,” said Secretary-General António Guterres.
He noted that the “man-made crisis” had devastated the economy of a country that was “pitifully poor” even before the current conflict, and forced three million people from their homes – leaving many being unable to earn a living or grow crops.
“Some 17 million are food-insecure, making this the world’s largest hunger crisis,” Guterres said, highlighting a situation worsened by import restrictions and the destruction of port facilities.
Calling particular attention to children at risk in Yemen, Guterres said that on average, one child under the age of five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes in Yemen.
“This means fifty children in Yemen will die during today’s conference – and all those deaths could have been prevented,” he stated.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), pledges were made by 48 Member States, the European Commission, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and four NGO/humanitarian organizations for humanitarian action in Yemen in 2017.
“Now we must see the pledges translated into the scaled up action the people of Yemen need and deserve,” he said.