Press Release

One million Yemeni women at risk due to lack of funding says UNFPA

29 August 2019



UNITED NATIONS, 29 August 2019 - UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, echoes the urgent call by UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Lise Grande for donors to provide the funding promised earlier this year.

"Over one million Yemeni women need funds now, or they will lose access to life-saving reproductive health services, putting their lives and those of their babies at risk," said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem.  

By September 2019, UNFPA will be forced to close 175 of the 268 health facilities it currently supports with reproductive health services. This poses a direct threat to more than one million pregnant and lactating women requiring immediate treatment for acute malnutrition and further medical assistance.

Already, the procurement of medicines has stopped.  Fourteen safe spaces and four specialized mental health facilities for women have closed.

Every two hours, a woman dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and another 20 suffer injuries, infections or disabilities that could have been prevented. This is the reality faced by an estimated 6 million women and adolescent girls of childbearing age in Yemen.

The protracted conflict has resulted in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, affecting 24 million people.  As grave violations of rights continue, support to affected women and girls is critical.  A significant increase in gender-based violence requires urgent protection, healthcare, mental health and psychosocial support, and legal assistance for survivors.

Without funding, the lives of half a million women and girls will be affected. The closure of remaining shelters, safe spaces and specialized facilities will increase the risk of intimidation and violence, and women and girls could be forced into illicit activities to survive.

As the lead agency for the combined response of 23 UN organizations and local and international NGOs, UNFPA calls for urgent funding to provide a package of the most critical lifesaving assistance for newly displaced families on the move, in hard to reach areas, or stranded in the military frontlines. The package includes dignity kits, basic hygiene supplies, and immediate ration kits.

At the end of June, the procurement of dignity kits was suspended and supplies are running scarce. Unless funding is received soon, one million newly displaced people face the probability of being unable to meet basic survival needs during the first weeks of displacement. This will further increase vulnerability and pose higher risks of exploitation, especially for women and girls.

Of UNFPA’s 2019 appeal for $110 million for Yemen’s humanitarian response, only $33 million has been received, leaving a gap of $77 million. We call on donors to provide urgent funding to enable life-saving reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention and response services for women, adolescent girls and others affected by the conflict.

 

Media contact in New York: Eddie Wright, ewright@unfpa.org, +1 212 297 2717

Media contact Yemen: Lankani Sikurajapathy, sikurajapathy@unfpa.org, +947 73411614

 

NOTE: There is a joint UN communication effort to push donors to provide the pledges made in February, and we are using the hashtag #PledgePaidLivesSaved.