Yemen Donors Conference Raises Even Less Money for Humanitarian Relief than Last Year
March 2 , 2021 (EIRNS)—The UN donors conference which convened yesterday to raise funds for relief efforts in Yemen, co-sponsored by Sweden and Switzerland, failed to raise even half of the $3.85 billion that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appealed for. Pledges amounted to a total of $1.7 billion, even less than the $1.9 billion that was donated in 2020. Guterres called for countries to “consider again what they can do to help stave off the worst famine the world has seen in decades.” Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, who is on a week-long visit to Yemen, also called the outcome of the conference “disappointing,” warning that the lack of funding would cause huge cuts to Yemen aid. “The shortfall in humanitarian aid will be measured in lives lost,” he said.
The Saudis pledged $430 million; the U.S. promised $191 million, reportedly a decrease of $35 million from last year. The reduction in aid is attributed to the pandemic, corruption allegations, and concerns the aid might not be reaching its intended recipients in territories controlled by the Houthis.
The Houthi leadership dismissed the conference, saying that such donor meetings only aid the aggressor countries and not the people of Yemen. “Conferences help aggressor states to identify themselves as obliging, not hostile or aggressor states which must end the siege and aggression,” said Houthi spokesman Mohammad Abdul-Salam, reported Iran’s Tasnim News Agency. He stressed in a Twitter posting that stopping the aggression and lifting the blockade is the greatest help Yemen can ever receive. “The best services that the Saudi-led coalition provides to Yemen are nothing but daily airstrikes, brutal siege, the blockade of oil products and the closure of Sana’a International Airport, and the human consequences thereof.”