Yemeni Families Left Stranded as International Donor Support Plummets

Al-Garehi Al-Gharbi camp in the Abs district of north-west Yemen. Photo: Zeyad Al-Sulaihi/NRC

Yemeni families are facing an increasingly dire situation as international donor support for humanitarian aid collapses. Despite pleas for assistance, a Senior Official Meeting of donor states convened in Brussels has only pledged just over 735 million USD for Yemen’s humanitarian response, falling significantly short of the 2.7 billion USD required this year to address urgent needs.

The announcement from Brussels has sparked outrage and frustration among aid organizations and Yemenis alike. Samah Hadid, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Head of Advocacy for the Middle East and North Africa, lamented the missed opportunity for meaningful action, stating, “Today marks a missed opportunity for the international community to take meaningful steps towards pulling Yemenis back from the brink of severe hunger and widespread disease.”

The consequences of this funding shortfall are stark. Families across Yemen, already grappling with food insecurity and limited resources, are now facing even harsher realities. A survey conducted by the Norwegian Refugee Council revealed that 90% of families in certain areas had not received any aid in the past three months. This lack of support has exacerbated food insecurity, with over 17 million people now struggling to access enough food, leading to acute malnutrition among children.

Moreover, the scarcity of clean water has led to a surge in water-borne diseases like cholera, affecting eight out of ten people surveyed. The situation is dire, with many families resorting to negative coping strategies such as skipping meals in order to survive.

The failure of the international community to adequately fund Yemen’s humanitarian efforts is alarming. Prior to today’s announcement, only 16 cents were provided for every one dollar needed to address the mounting humanitarian crisis in Yemen this year. This lack of support stands in stark contrast to the resources allocated to fueling conflicts in the region.

The repercussions of this funding shortfall are already being felt on the ground. The Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the primary aid providers in Yemen, has been forced to drastically reduce its assistance efforts. Suad, a mother in northwest Yemen, expressed her desperation, stating, “My earnings aren’t enough to cover the basic needs. I used to receive cash assistance and other forms of aid, but that stopped a year and a half ago. I prioritize food over schooling. Without humanitarian aid, how will we survive?”

The situation in Yemen is reaching a critical point, with millions at risk of starvation and suffering. Urgent action is needed to secure adequate funding and prevent further devastation. As Hadid emphasized, “Millions here will be left without assistance as organizations like ours are forced to slash our support. Desperate people will face unimaginable decisions to endure without vital support.”

The international community must heed these warnings and act swiftly to avert a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. The lives of millions hang in the balance, and time is running out.