GENEVA: Yemen must not become a forgotten crisis behind Ukraine, organisers of Wednesday’s UN pledging conference said, warning of catastrophic hunger if donations were not forthcoming.

The United Nations considers war-torn Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster — but the money preventing the situation from getting worse is now running out, they warned.

“Today we are meeting to plug a huge gap in funding for the life-saving response,” UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told reporters. “The war is in its seventh year and counting. The economy lies in ruins. Basic services are collapsing,” he added.

“This year’s response needs nearly $4.3 billion to help over 17 million people across Yemen.”

As funding had been drying up since late last year, aid agencies were being forced to cut back or stop food and health services, he said.

“Today we hope to raise the money to replenish the food pipeline, stock up health clinics and provide shelter to the displaced.

“And to send a message to the people in Yemen that we do not forget them,” said Griffiths.

The British diplomat said Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, launched last month, would have far-reaching secondary impacts.

It will “surely harm the lives of many Yemenis”, he said, given that the country depends almost entirely on food imports, with nearly a third of its wheat supplies coming from Ukraine.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2022

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