A health worker wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant at a market in the old city of Sanaa in April.

Yemen’s coronavirus: Experts fear nation could become world’s worst infected

Applications for $ 2.42 billion in UN funding fell this week to 50

“The countdown to the end will have to deal with a wider disruption to Yemen at a time when the country is already facing the growing effects of the virus epidemic on already malnourished and sick people,” Lis Grande said in a phone call from the divided nation’s capital Sanaa on Wednesday. The head of the office told CNN.

“General health services in 179 of the country’s 399 hospitals will be shut down within three weeks. Water and sanitation services for 3.5 million people, including three million children, will be shut down in three weeks. Nutrition support for 2.5 million malnourished children will be cut off.” Will start “eight to 10 weeks,” he warned.

Donors pledged ১ 1.33 billion of the 2.42 billion in the United Nations this week, saying Yemen was needed for the virtual conference. “The worst case scenario that we are facing now is that the death toll from the virus could exceed the combined number of wars, diseases and hunger in the last five years. [in Yemen]”Grande told CNN.

According to the location of the armed conflict and the event data project, only 112,000 people have died in Yemen’s civil war in five years – 12,999 civilians among the dead.

The number of people who have died due to disease and malnutrition in the country has changed dramatically. However, the United Nations and other aid agencies are providing humanitarian assistance to 10 million Yemenis. The United Nations believes a cholera epidemic has already infected 110,000 people this year.

At a conference on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres added that four out of five Yemenis need “life-saving assistance”, adding that Yemen has suffered the most casualties in the world since Covid-19. The country has negligible capacity to test for coronavirus, but medical aid agencies also believe that the level of infection could be widespread.

The first wave of spending was stopped this week at the end of the Women’s Healthcare Conference, which gave birth to 150 women in UN-backed hospitals.

Yemen’s five-year civil war has put pressure on Houthi rebels against an internationally recognized government, backed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year, the emirates withdrew their troops from the conflict, but continued to support the government-in-exile in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Riyadh has continued to support and fund tribal militias and its air force has had a punitive impact on the ground.

Much of the new funding deficit has been blamed on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait for failing to deliver on their combined commitments, which were about $ 6.7 billion in previous years. This year, the UAE and Kuwait have not provided any funding for UN efforts, and Saudi Arabia has offered 600 million, of which $ 300 million was specifically allocated to the UN.

Saudi Arabia has been keen to get out of Quicksand since late last year. The war has undermined Saudi Arabia’s support in Washington, where Congress-imposed arms exports to Saudi Arabia have made it possible for the United States to supply new weapons to the kingdom from the Trump administration’s use of emergency powers to control arms exports. .

Some diplomats believe that the Gulf countries may try to force the Houthis into peace talks, albeit at a lower cost to the United Nations.

In Sana’a, aid to Houthi-controlled areas has been repeatedly diverted and manipulated by the rebel administration. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has repeatedly complained about the Houthis’ dietary changes – and the United States has been forced to spend money to improve the program.

U.S. aid to the WFP, 225 million, was recently agreed after Hatice agreed to refrain from harassing aid workers and to pay a broad “tax” on aid to areas under their control.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have said they want to continue providing assistance to Yemen – but insisted it should not be returned to the Houthi war effort. In the UAE, it is understood that the government is trying to find a way to continue funding aid activities.

“The UAE, in collaboration with international organizations, has made no effort to provide medical assistance to COVID-19-affected countries, where the UAE’s assistance from the beginning of March to the end of March was ৫ 135 million,” Emirati Reim al-Hashmi told CNN in a statement. .

“Moreover, the UAE Red Crescent continues to work in Yemen to extend a helping hand to our Yemeni brothers, and we deeply regret the loss of two of its employees killed by terrorists in March. However, this will not prevent us from delivering mission and humanitarian responsibilities , “Al-Hashmi added.

But it is not clear to UN officials how these “tariffs” could be imposed, and as one senior UN official put it, “our operations have collapsed.”

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