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."