Statement by WFP Executive Director on Qatari Funding for Humanitarian Operations in Yemen

Location:Yemen
July 22, 2021
Photo: WFP/Mohammed Awadh

WASHINGTON – I am deeply heartened by the announcement from Qatar that it will contribute $100 million to humanitarian operations in Yemen, where conflict, COVID and economic decline are driving a grinding hunger crisis which is in danger of slipping into famine without adequate funding. This contribution reinforces the opportunity for regional peace and security.

Qatar’s support, part of which will go to the United Nations World Food Programme (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 the U.N. World Food Programme and my sincere thanks go to the government and people of Qatar for this much-needed expression of solidarity.

Right now, two-thirds of Yemen’s population – some 20 million people – need humanitarian assistance with five million at immediate risk of famine. Acute malnutrition is eating away the futures of 2.3 million children and 400,000 are at risk of dying if left without treatment

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 the U.N. World Food Programme’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.

The U.N. World Food Programme supports 12.9 million in Yemen with emergency food assistance and provides special foods to treat and prevent malnutrition to 3.3 million children and mothers. To prevent famine in Yemen, the U.N. World Food Programme needs at least $1.9 billion in 2021. Not including Qatar, donors have stepped up with just over $1 billion so far this year.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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