Humanitarian aid in Yemen slashed by over 60% in five years

Humanitarian aid in Yemen has been cut by 62% over five years, endangering the lives and futures of the country’s most vulnerable people, especially children, warned Save the Children.

Two-thirds of Yemen’s population — 21.6 million people, including 11 million children — will need humanitarian assistance and protection this year, according to the UN.

Despite this, funding for the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Yemen, one of the world’s biggest emergencies, has plummeted from $3.64 billion USD in 2019 to $1.38 billion so far this year,[i] according to Save the Children’s funding analysis of annual contributions to the HRP. Commitments made by donors at the High-Level Pledging Conference in February barely reached one-third of funding requirements and with 2023 winding down, it is deeply concerning that few additional pledges and contributions have been made and that some donors still have not dispersed the funding that was promised.

The UK has slashed its funding to the HRP by over 86% since 2019. Denmark scaled back by nearly 80%, while Germany, which remains the fourth largest donor, is lagging behind its funding commitments with a scale-back of over 60%.

The United States, which provides nearly half of all humanitarian funding for Yemen, has also reduced its humanitarian aid by 23%, given increasingly dire needs globally and a more constrained funding environment. The European Commission also slashed its funding by around 22%

Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have virtually abandoned their funding, with cuts of almost 99%, 98% and 90% respectively since 2019.

Meanwhile, other countries have stepped up their contributions, including Canada (15%), the Netherlands (46%), and France (59%). We commend these nations for their increased commitment during these trying times.

Save the Children, along with 97 other international and local partners are making an urgent call to action in light of the funding crisis.

The impact of this financial drought is immediate and deeply concerning, said Save the Children. Children’s sectors are the lowest funded and so far in 2023, with only 7.5% of the funding needed for child protection and 9.6% required for education secured.

Beyond the numbers, the impact of the cuts is visible and far-reaching. Children in Yemen are at risk of having fewer social workers, safe spaces and less psychosocial support. The education system is also at a breaking point, seen in the lack of materials, the deteriorating facilities and a rising rate of dropouts – especially among girls.

Eyad*, 16, who lost his legs in a shelling incident, told Save the Children:

“Children and the young generation of today would have a bright future if the resources are made available, but this is in the hands of the world leaders.”

Rama Hansraj, Country Director for Save the Children in Yemen, said:

“The generosity of donors to Yemen has provided a critical lifeline to children and their families. While we deeply appreciate the years of support that has been provided, now is not the time to look away from Yemen.

We are at the brink of leaving an entire generation behind. These are not just numbers; these are children with dreams, aspirations, and the right to a safe and fulfilling life. If funds continue to deteriorate, particularly from our key donors, the consequences will be irreversibly catastrophic.”

Save the Children urgently calls for immediate, flexible funding increases, especially in key underfunded sectors, to prevent the undoing years of progress in Yemen. We also advocate for an early and sustained release of these funds for uninterrupted service delivery.

Since 1963, Save the Children has been deeply committed to bettering the lives of children and families in Yemen through a range of multi-sectoral programs, including child protection, education, healthcare, food security, and WASH. With operations spanning 9 out of Yemen’s 23 governorates, we have one of the most extensive reaches among international NGOs in the country with the aim to empower vulnerable communities to build a brighter, safer future.

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