Funding shortage means UN programs in Yemen will start closing down: Aid chief

A funding shortage means UN programs in Yemen will start closing down in the next few weeks, the organization's emergency relief coordinator said.(File/AFP)
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Updated 16 April 2020

Funding shortage means UN programs in Yemen will start closing down: Aid chief

  • The UN relief coordinator also thanked Saudi Arabia for its pledge last week of $500 million for the UN-led response in Yemen and $25 million for COVID-19 activities
  • Martin Griffiths said he expects the opposing parties in the country to formally adopt agreements on a nationwide ceasefire soon

LONDON: A funding shortage means UN programs in Yemen will start closing down in the next few weeks, the organization's emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock said on Thursday.  

“Of the UN’s 41 major programmes, 31 will start closing down in the next few weeks if we can’t secure additional funds. This means we will have to start eliminating many of the activities that may offer Yemenis’ best chance to avoid COVID-19,”  Lowcock told the UN Security Council.

He added that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will have to stop immediate assistance for families displaced by conflict or natural disasters which means that “up to 1 million displaced people would not receive critical supplies.”   

Nutrition programmes will also be cut, Lowcock added, and this will affect 260,000 severely malnourished children and 2 million other children who are moderately malnourished in the country. 

The UN relief coordinator also thanked Saudi Arabia for its pledge last week of $500 million for the UN-led response in Yemen and $25 million for COVID-19 activities.

Meanwhile, United Nations Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths said on Thursday he expects the opposing parties in the country to formally adopt "in the immediate future" agreements on a nationwide ceasefire, key economic and humanitarian measures and a resumption of political talks.
Griffiths said he has been negotiating with the parties on the texts for the past two weeks. "We expect them to agree on and formally adopt these agreements in the immediate future," he told the UN Security Council.

Griffiths told the UN Security Council he has been negotiating with the parties on the texts of his proposals for the past two weeks. "We expect them to agree on and formally adopt these agreements in the immediate future," he said.
He said the economic and humanitarian measures could include: release of prisoners and detainees, opening Sanaa airport, paying civil servant salaries, opening access roads, and ensuring entry at Hodeidah ports for ships carrying commodities that will help in the fight against COVID-19.
"The conversations we had with the two parties, and our consultations with the Saudi-led Coalition among other international actors ... are continuous, detailed and constructive," Griffith said.
He said "good progress" was being made and the United Nations was redoubling its efforts to bridge outstanding differences "before we convene them at a meeting where ... these agreements will be tabled, confirmed - I hope - and published."

(With Reuters)


Chlorine gas leak at plant sickens 70 in southeast Iran

Updated 04 July 2020

Chlorine gas leak at plant sickens 70 in southeast Iran

  • Most of the workers at the Karun petrochemical center in the city of Mahshahr in southeast Khuzestan province were released after undergoing medical treatment
  • Meanwhile, in the city of Ahvaz, also in Khuzestan, a fire at the Zergan power plant was ignited when a transformer exploded

TEHRAN, Iran: A chlorine gas leak at a petrochemical center in southeast Iran sickened 70 workers, state-run IRNA news agency reported Saturday.
Most of the workers at the Karun petrochemical center in the city of Mahshahr in southeast Khuzestan province were released after undergoing medical treatment.
Meanwhile, in the city of Ahvaz, also in Khuzestan, a fire at the Zergan power plant was ignited when a transformer exploded, IRNA reported Saturday.
The blaze was contained by firefighters after two hours of battling the blaze.
Mohammad Hafezi, the power plant’s health and safety manager, told IRNA the cause of the fire was under investigation.
The two incidents in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan come after a fire and explosion at a centrifuge production plant above Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility early Thursday.
Officials said the cause of the fire at Natanz is known to officials, but won’t be immediately released for “security reasons.”
On Tuesday, an explosion from a gas leak in a medical clinic in northern Tehran killed 19 people.