Yemen: UN food aid to Yemen be cut by half due to funding crisis

Reduction of food supplies comes as authorities confirm first case of coronavirus

epa08355968 A worker (R) disinfects the hands of a man before entering a supermarket, after the first case of coronavirus was reported in the war-ridden Arab country, in Sanaa, Yemen, 10 April 2020. Authorities in Yemen have reported the first known coronavirus infection in the war-torn nation, which until now was the last remaining country in the Arab world without any confirmed cases of the pandemic COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.  EPA/YAHYA ARHAB
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The UN's food agency said on Friday that it was being forced to halve its aid supplies to Yemen's rebel-controlled areas because of a lack of funds.
More than two-thirds of Yemen's population are food insecure and the World Food Programme assists more than 12 million Yemenis.

More than 8 million of them live in areas under the control of the Houthi rebels.

"WFP's operation in Yemen is now facing a critical funding shortage and is left with no choice but to reduce assistance by half to avoid a full stop of assistance in the future," an agency spokesperson told The National.

From next week deliveries will only reach families every other month, instead of monthly, the spokesperson said.

Aid reduction will only occur in rebel held areas and will continue at current levels in government held areas and 11 contests districts, said the spokesperson.

In recent months, the agency has faced severe challenges in distributing aid across the county.
"The environment for humanitarian operations in areas of Yemen controlled by the de-facto authorities has seen has become increasingly challenging and problematic," the spokesperson said.

“WFP calls on the de-facto authorities to honour agreements and to introduce the confidence measures needed for donations and full operations to resume,” said the spokesperson.

The UN agency previously said it required about $200 million (Dh734.6m) per month as it scaled up its operations to reach 12 million people.
The war in Yemen started in 2014, when the Iranian-backed Houthis seized the capital Sanaa.

It pushed the internationally recognised government to request a Saudi-led coalition to intervene on its behalf to oust the rebels and restore it to power.
After five years war that has killed over 100,000 people and destroyed more than half of the country's hospitals and clinics, the conflict has largely settled into a bloody stalemate.
The UN has described Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian disaster. After experiencing the worst cholera outbreaks in modern history, the country faces another challenge from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Yemen on Friday announced its first case of the disease, triggering fears of an outbreak that could devastate its crippled healthcare system.
The government said the patient was a 73-year-old male in the port town of Al Sheher in the government-controlled province of Hadramawt. He is being treated and in a stable condition, officials said.