Rome, Oct 26 (IANS/AKI) Amid a spectre of mass famine in Yemen, the UN has intensified its efforts to ensure that tens of thousands of displaced Yemenis have immediate access to cash support, Andrej Mahecic of the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday.
“In a country where three out of four Yemenis require some form of aid and protection and where food and fuel prices have increased by 25 and 45 per cent respectively this year alone, this assistance is a life-line for the most vulnerable families, helping them to meet their urgent needs while in displacement,” Mahecic said.
Current pre-famine conditions and cholera outbreak in Yemen come on top of the disastrous impact the conflict has had so far – massive displacement and mounting civilian casualties, Mahecic warned.
“Therefore, it remains vital that the critical life-saving activities – including protection and emergency shelter – are addressed and supported in parallel with food, health and education programmes.”
More than two thirds of an estimated 2.7 million people who fled the conflict to safer areas of Yemen have been living as refugees for more than two years and have depleted all their resources.
Many host communities are also “struggling to survive”, UNHCR said. Other Yemenis who returned to their homes have often found them damaged or destroyed, UNHCR reported.
UNHCR said it was providing cash assistance to the most vulnerable families to help meet their immediate needs including life-saving medical treatment.
“So far this year, UNHCR has distributed almost $33 million cash assistance. We aim to distribute a total of more than 41 million dollars before the end of the year,” Mahecic stated.
At least 10,000 civilians have been killed and millions displaced in Yemen’s three-year-long
civil war, which began in 2015 after Shia Houthi rebels backed by Iran seized much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. Saudi Arabia and allies including the United Arab Emirates joined the war in 2015.