DUBAI (Reuters) – The World Bank will give Yemen $150 million in grants for health, nutrition and sanitation projects, helping address a funding shortfall facing the war-torn country.
Yemen had been the poorest country in the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa region before war broke out more than six years ago, plunging the country into what the United Nations describes as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
A serious gap in funding for aid appeared last year. More funds started flowing since April after U.N. officials said Yemen could see the world’s worst famine in decades, but aid groups say the humanitarian operation still does not have enough cash to see out 2021.
“The project will provide much needed emergency funds to help deliver quality healthcare for the poorest and most vulnerable, including those living in remote areas, said Tania Meyer, the World Bank’s Yemen country head.
The World Bank’s Yemen Emergency Human Capital Project (YEHCP) works with U.N. agencies and Yemen’s local authorities. The funding boost will go towards essential health, nutrition, water and sanitation services to 3.65 million Yemenis, the World bank said.
The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis, mostly civilians, and left millions on the brink of famine. Around 80% of Yemen’s population, or 24 million people, rely on humanitarian relief to survive.
The United States last week called on the international community, especially Yemen’s neighbours, to fulfil pledges to increase humanitarian funding, warning that aid programs could otherwise be forced to close.
Yemen’s $3.85 billion 2021 humanitarian response plan stood at only 43% funded earlier this month.
(Reporting by Riyam Mokhashef and Lisa Barrington; Editing by Christopher Cushing)