About 20 million of Yemen people are in acute need of humanitarian and protection services, and nearly 13 million people require urgent humanitarian health care, the World Health Organization warned Friday.
The country has been experiencing nine years of conflict.
“Recent political talks have raised new hopes that lasting peace might finally be achievable in Yemen,” Dr. Annette Heinzelmann, who heads the WHO’s Yemen Health Emergency Team, told a UN press conference.
“Nevertheless, the country’s fragile health system is severely overburdened and edging closer to collapse, while international donor funding is insufficient to avert further deterioration of the country’s failing health services,” she warned.
The WHO doctor warned of Yemen becoming a forgotten humanitarian crisis.
On March 20, the Yemeni government announced an agreement with the Houthi rebel group after consultations in Switzerland to release 887 prisoners and abductees from both sides.
Heinzelmann said 540,000 Yemeni children under age 5 suffer from severe acute malnutrition with an immediate risk of death.
In addition, 46% of health facilities across the country are only partially functioning or entirely out of service due to staff shortages, funds, electricity, or medicines.
As of April 1, the Yemen Health Cluster – composed of 46 UN and non-governmental organizations – had received only $62 million – or 16 percent – of the $392 million needed to reach the 12.9 million most-vulnerable people with urgent and life-saving health assistance.
“Disease outbreaks – notably of measles, diphtheria, dengue, cholera, and polio – are accelerating Yemen’s deepening health crisis,” said the UN doctor.
CURRENTPH NEWS SERVICE