Despite the extent of suffering , the war in Yemen receives less attention in the West than conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. In Yemen, several NATO powers are providing intelligence and logistical support to the Saudis' coalition, but stopping short of airstrikes.
International funding for Yemen is urgently needed in response to widespread malnutrition and limited access to medical care caused by the war in the country, representatives of an aid organization active in Yemen reported Monday in Berlin.
Roughly 17 million Yemenis are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, among them 7 million Yemenis exposed to extreme food shortages and almost 500,000 severely malnourished children under the age of five, aid organization CARE International reported. Roughly 2.2 million children in Yemen were malnourished as of December, "an all-time high and increasing," according to UNICEF.
"If there was ever a time for support from the international community, then it's now," said Marten Mylius, an emergency help coordinator with CARE. Less than 10 percent of the $2.1 billion (1.98 billion-euro) aid package sought by the UN for 2017 has been funded, according to the most recent UN numbers. The funding target is based on the projected costs of supplying basic provisions like food, water and shelter by those in need as a result of the war - more than 60 percent of Yemen's total population, according to CARE.
Ordinary Yemenis, and especially children, continue to bear the brunt of a bombing campaign started by Saudi Arabia in March 2015. A Saudi blockade of Yemeni ports and restrictions imposed on Yemeni airspace have proven more devastating for the civilian population, limiting the arrival of critical supplies in a country that depends heavily upon imports for foodstuffs, and preventing Yemenis from escaping the country.
CARE representatives criticized the use of food or medical access as forms of leverage, even as they avoided criticizing specific nations or groups. They called pointedly for the lifting of blockades and airspace restrictions.
"It's simply unacceptable," said CARE general secretary Karl-Otto Zentel. "It's unheard of that civilians severely injured in war are unable to be treated on location but can't be evacuated out of the country. These are unacceptable conditions."