26th February 2021

With more than 16 million people in Yemen suffering from severe hunger and tens of thousands living in famine-like conditions, this year’s High-Level Pledging Conference is a matter of life and death for many people, Islamic Relief is warning.

The pledging conference – being held on 1st March – will bring together some of the world’s richest and most powerful nations.

However, last year’s pledging conference raised only half of what was needed, and the aid response to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis is critically under-funded. Essential life-saving services such as food and water have been cut as a result.

Najat Elhamri, Islamic Relief’s Head of Region for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

“It is appalling that as the needs in Yemen have increased, funding has reduced.

“We witness the impact of this every day in the nutrition centres we support. In recent months we’ve seen these centres overwhelmed with a massive increase in severely malnourished children, infants and pregnant women. People who are weak from hunger walk for miles to get here, desperately seeking help. You can see the signs of death in their eyes.

“In some parts of Yemen our teams are now facing an impossible choice of either further cutting the size of food rations or reducing the number of people we can help.

“In the past few weeks we have seen thousands more people flee their homes to escape new fighting. We urgently need all parties to the conflict to commit to an immediate ceasefire and protect civilians, and we need the international community to increase its support and ensure that vulnerable people have food, water, healthcare and protection.  

“The people of Yemen deserve more support from the world. In recent years we have committed more of our own funds – raised through the generosity of the public and communities around the world – than some of the world’s richest governments.

“Islamic Relief and other organisations can reach many more people with aid, but only if funds are made available. This pledging conference could mean the difference between life and death for so many people in Yemen.”

Islamic Relief works in 17 of Yemen’s 22 governorates and is the World Food Programme’s largest NGO partner in Yemen, delivering food aid to more than 2 million people every month. It also runs more than 150 nutrition and feeding centres, and provides support to hospitals and clinics.