Yemeni Military Gets Money for New Machines, Yemeni People Dependent on Humanitarian Aid Suffer

I feel like I have written a variation of this post a half dozen times since Christmas. Here we go again. Via Laura Rozen, I see that the Pentagon has moved forward with its plans to double military assistance to Yemen to $150 million.  Says Laura:

Some $35 million of that is in so-called 1206 funds to support counterterrorism efforts in Yemen (see this). An additional $38 million “will provide Yemen with a military transport aircraft,” Reuters reported. The other some $70 million will be detailed by the Pentagon soon, but is expected to go towards bolstering Yemen’s air transport capabilities, Reuters said.

Meanwhile, thousands of civilians displaced by civil conflict in Yemen are facing starvation because the international community can’t come up with some $30 million in assistance that the UN says is necessary to sustain humanitarian operations throughout the rest of the year.  That $30 million amounts to a 20% shortfall, meaning that aid agencies are being forced to scale back their operations.  This is what the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Relief says these cuts will mean in real terms to Yemenis dependent on aid: (Forgive some of the technical jargon, but I think you’ll get gist.)

Food and Agriculture

WFP is facing a shortfall of 75 percent of its estimated requirements for 2010.  The agency has already been forced to  significantly reduce rations and beneficiaries.  By July, only 4 percent of the planned 3.2 million beneficiaries will be receiving assistance and, during the second half of the year, all food support will be cut off.  This includes assistance to IDPs, refugees, acute malnourished children and pregnant mothers.

Livestock is the last remaining asset of IDPs, and a survey has indicated that IDPs have lost over 50 percent of their  livestock.  It is important to ensure the survival of remaining livestock to maintain livelihoods and food security, particularly to ensure sustainable recovery upon return to Sa’ada. 

Nutrition assistance is provided throughout Yemen.  Thirty percent of targeted acute malnourished children under-five and  pregnant/lactating mothers are no longer receiving nutrition assistance.  A CERF contribution has assisted in mitigating shortfalls, however serious shortfalls will continue to impact implementation, and at current funding levels, children will be without treatment for the second half of 2010.  

Shelter, NFIs and CCCM
Due to a lack of funding, in some cases only some of the items from the standard non-food item (NFI) kit have been distributed to displaced people.  A lack of NFIs reduces coping mechanisms and the ability for IDPs to be self-sufficient.

The geographical coverage of health services is in desperate need of improvement throughout the conflict-affected areas, particularly to scattered IDPs outside camps.  Lack of adequate funding has prevented these improvements, as well as  the provision of round-the-clock essential health services to the affected population.

The Government has asked humanitarian actors to stop registration.  Due to funding shortages, the Government claims  additional assistance cannot

be provided to newly registered IDPs.  However, discussions are ongoing to enable continued registration. 

In conflict-affected governorates there continue to be large numbers of IDP children not enrolling in any form of regular  education activities.  Lack of funds is hampering the improvement of the response.  Particular needs cannot be met, including the problem of children out of school, and psychosocial and technical support for teachers.

I generally don’t like to put humanitarian relief in the “security frame” (helping vulnerable people should stand as its own goal) but it surely undermines American goals for stability in Yemen when thousands of people are forced into desperate conditions at IDP camps?  Why are we being so short-sighted?