The funding for essential activities in Yemen has dried up by 75% due to the shortage of aid. An international virtual funding conference was organised by Saudi Arabia in partnership with the UN on June 2, 2020, to raise US $2.41 billion to meet the requirement of essential programs in war-torn Yemen. During the virtual conference, both the Saudi government and the UN had requested the donors to help cover the programs until the year-end and to fight COVID-19. In requesting so, the UN had raised around $1.35 billion. That is almost short of $ 1 billion, thereby leaving the UN agencies to just continue their humanitarian work for the next 6 months in 2020.
On May 30, 2020, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its official website, explaining the present funding condition of Yemen’s reproductive health services, has stated that,
“If no funding materializes by July, UNFPA will be forced to close up to 90 per cent of its life-saving reproductive services across the country.”
Yemen, which has been torn-apart by civil-war in recent years, has already entered a stage where getting aid from donor countries during the COVID-19 is shrinking. The halt on funding by donor countries and especially by the US has put Yemen’s women in even more danger. The UNFPA has had to suspend the provisions of reproductive healthcare to women in 140 (approx. 78%) out of 180 health facilities and thereby just running 40 health facilities with the little fund left. With countries fighting the COVID-19 through their effective public health responses, Yemen is on the brink of a collapsing health system.
Yemen’s vulnerable women may suffer the worst health crisis in years. In its statement, the UNFPA has reported, two tragic incidents of women who died due to the closing up of maternal services and termination of doctors. It also stated that,
“Two million women and girls of childbearing age could be at risk due to the loss of reproductive services. Some 48,000 women could die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.”
In its last year’s milestone, UNFPA reached around 3.5 million women and girls with reproductive health and protective services. By providing support to 260 health facilities and 3800 reproductive health workers in Yemen. But however due to the COVID-19 this year, efforts to reach those vulnerable women and girls is highly unthinkable, as the funding for the services are running out.