New York [US], April 15 (ANI/Xinhua): UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths warned Thursday that a lack of humanitarian funding in Yemen may undermine the current political momentum.
The renewable two-month truce that the warring parties have agreed on is already having a positive impact on the humanitarian situation, he told the Security Council in a briefing.
However, the humanitarian operation in Yemen remains underfunded, he said.
The United Nations last month raised 1.3 billion U.S. dollars in pledges out of the nearly 4.3 billion dollars needed, he said. Despite newly announced pledges, including 300 million dollars from Saudi Arabia, there is a funding gap.
"Funding remains the biggest challenge of the response. There's a serious risk that core programs across sectors, including food aid, water, health care, the support for the displaced, will keep scaling down ... and eventually stop if funds don't arrive," said Griffiths.
"Allowing the aid operation to collapse would run directly counter to the very positive momentum that I think we're right to honor and celebrate today. And so we're going to do all we can to work with donors from our side to help ensure that these life-saving programs survive," he said.
The United Nations continues to face serious access challenges in Yemen. Last year, half of all people in need lived in areas affected by access constraints, primarily as a result of bureaucratic impediments. They particularly affect female humanitarian workers and certain types of programming that are essential for the well-being and safety of women and girls -- always the most vulnerable, always at the edge of any such impediments, he said.
"I continue to call on the parties to do everything possible to facilitate access to people in need in line with obligations under international humanitarian law and we must also address challenges (of) the safety and security of humanitarian workers," said Griffiths.
Five months after their detention by the Houthi authorities, two UN staff remain in custody. Despite past promises to release them, they have not been set free, he said.
The United Nations is also continuing to make efforts to secure the release of five UN staff kidnapped in February, he said. (ANI/Xinhua)