The European Union has pledged an additional €25 million ($29 million) in aid funding for Yemen as the humanitarian situation continues to decline.
On Thursday the European Commission announced the pledge, bringing its total support for Yemen to €196.7 million since the conflict began in March 2015.
The funds will go to the World Food Programme for food distribution and logical support and transport capacity for the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service.
“Children, women and men urgently need access to food, water and medical services in Yemen. All parties to the conflict must give priority to protecting civilians and allow humanitarian aid to get to the people,” Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said.
“Unless all restrictions on imports of food, fuel and medical supplies are lifted immediately, Yemen will suffer the largest famine in the world in decades.”
The European Commission said Friday that diphtheria “is making an alarming comeback in Yemen,” with 21 deaths and 318 cases reported in 15 governorates over the last three months. The number of cholera cases in the country are set to reach one million before the end of the year.
More than 2.2 million people – 80 percent of Yemen’s population – are now in need of aid. The U.N. has called the situation in Yemen the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The health fears have eclipsed the possibility that Yemen faces famine; on Tuesday U.N. humanitarian relief coordinator Mark Lowcock said 8.5 million Yemenis are at risk of starvation, up from 7 million people earlier this year.
The World Health Organisation says nearly half a million Yemeni children are starving.
The U.N. on Monday called for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting in the capital Sanaa after clashes killed more than 200 people, including the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.