Yemen aid programmes running short of funds: UN

GENEVA - UN aid agencies on Friday warned that programmes in Yemen were running short of funds amid concerns that aid efforts in Haiti could affect help for refugees in the volatile Middle East country.
Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said that in Yemen "our two camps are overpopulated and we don't know if we'll be able to build a third one as we wanted."

Displaced Yemenis from the Saada province at the Mazraq Internally Displaced People's camp
Displaced Yemenis from the Saada province at the Mazraq Internally Displaced People's camp
She said that "there are concerns that all the efforts are going to Haiti," which is coping with the aftermath of a devastasting 7.0-magnitude quake.
According to Fleming, there is a major lack of funding for Yemen where the UNHCR is helping some 250,000 people displaced by the fighting between rebels and government forces in the north of the country, and another 170,000 refugees.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in November appealed for 177 million dollars for aid to Yemen this year, said its spokeswoman Emilia Casella.
The agency has been forced to reduce daily food rations, she said.
"If donor funds are not found in the next few weeks it's likely to lead to further ration reductions and possibly the suspension of a number of programmes in Yemen by the end of the first half of this year," Casella said.
Yemen has been fighting an Islamic insurgency which has recently captured more global attention after the local branch of Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the abortive bombing of a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day.
Britain hosted an international conference on Yemen last week at which Western governments promised to bolster their support for the Sanaa government.
At the same, the focus of international aid efforts has been on Haiti since last month's quake rocked the Caribbean nation claiming some 212,000 lives and leaving at least a million people homeless.
According to OCHA, donations for Haiti have totalled some 2.2 billion dollars.

Saturday, February 6th 2010

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