RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Nations Security Council on the Humanitarian Situation in Yemen was held in New York on 15 April 2019 to review the current humanitarian situation in Yemen and to secure funding for UN support for Yemen in 2019.
At the meeting, the UN's Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Sir Mark Lowcock, reviewed the pledge totals and spoke about the cholera epidemic and other issues of urgent concern to humanitarian organizations working in Yemen.
"Donors pledged," Lowcock stated, "USD 2.6 billion for humanitarian action in Yemen this year, including a further USD billion joint pledge for the United Nations by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Last year's contribution from these two donors was channeled through the United Nations as a single, unearmarked grant early in the year, which I consider a best practice in humanitarian donorship. That was also a major factor in enabling us last year to stem the cholera outbreak, to enable us to roll back food insecurity in half of the pre-famine districts, and to help us save more children suffering from complicated severely-acute malnutrition – more children than we were able to save in any other comparable operation globally."
Over the past several years, the Kingdom has responded urgently with support for projects to help fight and contain Yemen's cholera epidemic. Saudi Arabia, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), and the UAE, funded cholera-control activities in Yemen last year which resulted in a cure rate of 99%. KSrelief provided 550 tons of medicines and medical supplies at a cost of USD 1.2 million to Yemen to diagnose, control and treat the cholera epidemic, strongly contributing to the reduction in cholera mortality rates.
In 25 May 2017, KSrelief signed an agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) for USD 8.2 million to help control cholera by strengthening and improving disease control activities, including the identification of infection sources and risk factors and the activation of rapid-response teams. The projects also focused on improving the quality of local water sources through testing water quality, sterilizing and disinfecting polluted water.
In 23 June 2017, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, directed a donation of USD 66.7 million to meet the medical needs of Yemenis affected by the cholera epidemic. Under this directive, KSrelief signed a project with WHO for USD 33.7 million as a response to WHO's anti-cholera appeal for Yemen, and a project with UNICEF for USD 33 million. This funding included projects in the areas of treatment, coordination, diagnosis, prevention, surveillance and other disease-control activities in the WASH and health sectors.
At the UN's 2018 High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen in Geneva, Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of KSrelief, announced KSA's pledge of USD 500 million in support of the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan; and at the HRP event in February of 2019, the Kingdom donated another USD 500 million.
On 8 April 2019, KSA and UAE announced additional funding of USD 200 million for urgent humanitarian assistance in Yemen – part of the USD 500 million "Imdaad Initiative" announced in November 2018; this donation is part of an organized urgent-assistance campaign to support the country's food, nutrition, health and livelihoods sectors. This amount was allocated to UN agencies as follows: USD 140 million to WHO to bridge the funding gap for food needs, and USD 60 million designated specifically for cholera control: USD 40 million for UNICEF and USD 20 million for WHO. The latter two amounts were used to address public sanitation issues and provide urgent funding to control Cholera.
The Kingdom's total financial contributions comprise one of the largest grant amounts in the history of the United Nations. Saudi Arabia is committed to providing ongoing support for the people of Yemen, including the fight against epidemic diseases in the country.
The funding continues to be generous, however that will never be enough as long as the Red Sea grain mills in Hodeidah and humanitarian food stores continue to be not accessible.