Years of war has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has announced a $100 million donation to support food security in war-torn Yemen, state news agency said on Wednesday.
The funds will go towards the United Nation’s World Food Programme “to support food security, help prevent famine and assist the United Nations relief and urgent humanitarian programmes to alleviate the exacerbation of the human tragedy in Yemen,” Qatar News Agency confirmed.
In a tweet posted on Thursday, US Senator Chris Murphy said he raised the issue during a trip to Qatar earlier this year.
“In April I traveled to Doha to raise w my friend Foreign Minister Al Thani the possibility of a major Qatari donation to address the Yemen famine. Tonight at dinner Qatar announced a historic $100M donation,” Murphy said.
Yemen has been mired by years of conflict that has brought the region’s poorest nation even closer to the bring of famine.
— محمد بن عبدالرحمن (@MBA_AlThani_) July 22, 2021
In a statement,WFP Executive Director David Beasely said he was “heartened” by Qatar’s contribution.
“Qatar’s support, part of which will go to WFP, is critical for staving off famine in Yemen and will save millions of lives. I am very encouraged by this latest development in Qatar’s partnership with WFP and my sincere thanks go to the government and people of Qatar for this much-needed expression of solidarity,” Beasley said.
“The international community must not wait for a famine classification in Yemen to act, as Qatar is doing now joining other donors who have generously stepped up to support WFP’s operation in the war-torn country. People do not start dying when a declaration of famine is made. It is their deaths that trigger a declaration,” he added.
In 2014, Houthi rebels overran all government institutions in Sanaa and gained control of the city, forcing the internationally-recognised government to flee to Aden.
The conflict was exacerbated months later in 2015 after a Saudi-led military coalition intervened to reinstate the government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
However, six years on, at least 233,000 Yemenis have been killed, among them 131,000 who died as a result of malnutrition, lack of healthcare and medicine.
According to the UN’s WFP, some five million people are on the brink of famine, with 50,000 people already living in famine-like conditions.
The organisation warned food prices have now increased by 200 percent compared to pre-war levels, with some 80 percent of Yemenis dependent on international food aid.
It is estimated that more than 16 million people will go hungry this year due to the dire conditions that have been imposed on the country amid the ongoing war.
It is also estimated that 400,000 Yemeni children below the age of five could die from acute malnutrition.
The UN has described the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.