By Mahdi Al-Nemr ROME,
(KUNA) — King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) signed an agreement with World Food Program Friday to provide USD multi-million funding for WFP’s operations to address malnutrition in Yemen.
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, which signed the USD 10 million agreement with Abdullah Al-Rabee’a, Supervisor General of KSrelief, said more people in Yemen were suffering from hunger daily and “the situation is beyond tragic.” The funding will help WFP fight the rising levels of malnutrition in Hudaidah governorate in Yemen.
“Mothers, with little to eat themselves, are often left with no option but to watch their children lose weight and fade away. We are grateful for the continuous support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This contribution will boost efforts to fight malnutrition and address the chronic challenge of hunger in Hudaidah,” she said after the signing ceremony in Rome.
The funding will be used to provide six months of emergency food rations to around 465,000 people, said Cousin.
She said more than 14 million people across Yemen were struggling to meet their most basic food needs, including seven million who were severely food insecure.
In some governorates, 70 percent of the population struggle to feed themselves. In the Red Sea governorate of Hudaidah, the situation was particularly alarming. Global Acute Malnutrition rates among children under five are as high as 31 percent, more than double the emergency threshold of 15 percent.
Cousin said KSrelief has been supporting WFP operations since September 2015 with up to USD 143 million, which helped the WFP to help six million Yemeni people.
She also commended the KSrelief for its annual USD 12 million contribution to help more than a million Syrians, Palestinians and Ethipians.
Cousin, in a statement to KUNA, said the two sides were keen on exchanging expertise for capacity building and operations on the ground.
Al-Rabee’a underlined importance of the agreement and said Saudi Arabia was a major partner for the WFP and other humanitarian organizations.
Asked by KUNA, Al-Rabee’a said the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, were keen on standing by the Yemeni people and alleviating their suffering.
He said more than 15 million Yemenis benefited from food and health services provided by WFP and Saudi Arabia.
WFP urgently needs more than USD 459 million to provide much-needed food assistance across Yemen through to April 2017.