The United Nations World Food programme (WFP) welcomes a pledge of US$500 million from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for humanitarian food assistance to Yemen. The funds, which will partially go to WFP, will cover shortfalls in the current humanitarian response while helping WFP scale up its operation to provide life-saving food assistance to 10-12 million severely hungry people in Yemen, including more than 2 million children.
“What Yemen needs most is peace because that would make the greatest amount of difference in every Yemeni life,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “In the meantime, this important donation will help us save children on the brink of death. I thank the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a contribution that will truly save lives.”
Beasley has just returned from a visit to Yemen, where he witnessed first-hand the human suffering caused by years of conflict. WFP is currently providing food assistance to 7 – 8 million severely hungry people there every month but has started scaling up its operations due to the deteriorating food security situation. Rapidly rising prices have put what limited food there is beyond the reach of many Yemeni families.
Beasley added that the new contribution will allow WFP to expand cash-based assistance which helps not just those buying food and other basic items but also merchants and small businesses – a key step in kick-starting the collapsed Yemeni economy.
Beasley recently made his first official visit to the UAE, where he met with the leadership to discuss the country’s role in providing humanitarian support for Yemen. He addressed the UN Security Council last week asking for an end to the conflict and requesting more funding for humanitarian assistance.
Earlier this year, the UAE and KSA jointly pledged US$930 million for humanitarian assistance in Yemen, of which US$442 million went to WFP.