The international aid organization OXFAM says the humanitarian situation in Yemen is worsening. They report severe hunger, widespread malnutrition and warn the next generation of Yemenis may not have proper medical treatment or education. We discussed the issue with Joy Singhal, manager of Oxfam’s humanitarian response in Yemen who spoke to us by phone from the country’s capital, Sana’a.
“The humanitarian is mounting, it’s increasing rather than decreasing; and it’s increasing substantially,” said Singhal.
He says some people are coping with the humanitarian crisis by selling off their livestock and land. He adds that there is a high level of debt and that begging has increased.
“About ten million people do not have enough food to eat; about five million of these are going to bed without eating….”
International donors, after a meeting last week, have pledged a total of 6.4 billion dollars for Yemen, but Singhal is concerned how the money will actually reach those in need.
“I would just like to put a word of caution there, because we do not know where that money is going to be spent, we do not know when that money is going to arrive, and we don’t know how much of that money is going to be spent on humanitarian needs which are most critical right now.”
In May, international donors led by Saudi Arabia at the “Friends of Yemen” conference pledged four billion dollars to help the impoverished state boost the fight against Islamist militants and develop the Yemeni economy.
“That is not new funding. That funding was committed before but we do not know, even now, when and what [these monies] will be spent on.”
Singhal says there are many issues to be confronted:
“The worst situation in the country is with the displaced people who are outside of Abyan in the south…. For the medium term, the worst crisis is with malnutrition… and that has to be tackled immediately….”
Susan Yackee is anchor and producer of Middle East Voices signature audio podcast, Middle East Monitor. She has been a reporter in the Washington area for more than 35 years and regularly interviews newsmakers and analysts in DC and around the world. Susan works in television, radio and social media.
After service in the British SAS Regiment the author became a physician and then an orthopaedic surgeon.
He has held professorial positions in Canada, Vietnam and the United States, practiced and taught orthopaedic surgery in three continents and in several wars.
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