CAIRO: The United Nations warned on Wednesday its programmes to fight the coronavirus and stave off starvation for hundreds of thousands of children in war-torn Yemen will be severely cut or stopped altogether by the end of the month unless donor countries provide an immediate injection of cash.

The UN sounded the alarm a day after its appeal for countries to fund emergency aid in the Arab world’s poorest nation fell a billion dollars short of what aid agencies needed $2.41bn to cover essential programmes from June to December.

Already, 75 per cent of UN programmes in Yemen, covering essentially every sector, from food to healthcare and nutrition, have had to shut their doors or reduce operations amid a shortage of funds. The World Food Programme had to cut rations in half and UN-funded health services were reduced in 189 out of 369 hospitals nationwide.

Zoe Paxton, spokesperson for the UN humanitarian office, said if aid isn’t paid immediately, response teams working to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Yemen will likely close by the end of this month,” severely handicapping efforts to contain the coronavirus, which is spreading at an alarming rate throughout the country.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2020