SANA’A – The European Union (EU) has contributed nearly €100 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) operation in Yemen over the last 12 months, providing crucial funding and advocacy support as the agency has scaled up assistance to prevent famine in the war-torn country.
Since late 2018, WFP has massively expanded its operation in Yemen thanks to the commitment of donors including the EU which last year contributed €50 million to the scale-up. WFP is now providing food assistance to more than 12 million people each month – an increase of over 50 percent on last year. This year, the EU donated an additional €45 million to WFP’s life-saving operations in Yemen.
“Yemen is facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. “Millions of people are threatened by famine. We cannot spare any effort to assist the population. I urge the parties to collaborate with humanitarian organisations and facilitate their work. Humanitarians must be allowed to operate with independence, neutrality and impartiality.”
EU funding has also enabled WFP to broaden nutrition support, providing special foods to prevent and treat malnutrition among some 1.9 million children and women at over 3,000 health facilities across Yemen.
Malnutrition rates among this group remain one of the highest in the world.
“Thanks to the work of WFP’s heroic team in Yemen and the support of donors like the EU, we help keep more than 12 million Yemenis from slipping into starvation,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “But after more than four years of conflict, the needs are much greater than the funds we have to do our work, We’re US$600 million short of what we need for the next six months, which means that we might soon have no choice but to cut back the amount of food we give to hungry people in Yemen.”
This year, the EU also contributed €4 million to support the operations of the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) in Yemen. The WFP-managed service has transported more than 17,000 aid workers to and from the country over the last 12 months, providing a lifeline for the complex humanitarian response where safe transport options are limited.
Since the start of the conflict, the EU has been a key partner of WFP in mobilising support for vulnerable people in Yemen. However, Yemen remains the largest food crisis in the world, with 20 million people – some 70 percent of the population – suffering from hunger. It is vital that WFP continues to secure resources it requires to meet the level of humanitarian need in Yemen.