Yemeni officials and international organisations have recently called for a resumption of humanitarian aid that has declined in recent months, warning that economic and humanitarian conditions are continuing to deteriorate since the country's political crisis began in February.
The United Nations IRIN News agency said in a report published in October that Yemen is receiving less aid from humanitarian agencies. The report cited several reasons, including concern among donors that the government would exercise control over the funds through a patronage system that would allow it to interfere with many projects.
In 2009, Yemen received about $513 million in overall aid, with $75 million of that amount directed to humanitarian aid, according to the Global Humanitarian Assistance Initiative. In 2010, the UN launched the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, with revised requirements of $186.1 million.
Oxfam International published a report in September warning about the spread of hunger and chronic malnutrition in Yemen.
"The political stalemate has caused several donors to suspend aid to Yemen. This is a most crucial period for the country, therefore politics and security should not govern the aid strategies for Yemen," Oxfam's report stated.
Earlier this year the Netherlands withheld assistance it intended to provide to Yemen's government in protest against human rights violations during political demonstrations. The World Bank also announced in August that it suspended its $500 million aid programme because of concerns about security and governance.
Dr. Mutahar al-Abbasi, acting minister of planning and international co-operation in the caretaker government, told Al-Shorfa the political crisis has affected all development programmes funded by the government and international projects funded by donors.
"The suspension of those projects has had a major impact on sectors such as water, education, and health," he said. "We urge private donors who suspended their support to Yemen to restore funds that were specifically allocated to development projects in those sectors that directly affect citizens."
Al-Abbasi said several international organisations are continuing to operate in Yemen and fund projects including UNICEF and the World Health Organisation. He called on all organisations that suspended aid to reconsider their positions.
"Suspension of aid does not serve developmental and humanitarian efforts, and it does not meet the humanitarian needs which should not be tied to political issues," al-Abbasi said.
Dr. Hassan Farhan, a professor of economics at the University of Sanaa, told Al-Shorfa the resumption of international aid to Yemen is dependent upon the security situation in areas where the agencies operate.
Farhan said violence is limited to specific areas such as Taiz province in the south and Arhab and Nahm, north of Sanaa, which are sites of confrontations between the government and demonstrators. Abyan province is another unstable area because of armed clashes between the Yemeni army and al-Qaeda forces that have caused the displacement of over 100,000 people.
"Organisations that operate outside areas where armed conflicts and military confrontations are taking place should return in order to support development," he said. "The humanitarian situation has deteriorated significantly in Yemen. The poverty rate has risen from 35% before the crisis to 55%, according to international estimates. The unemployment rate has also risen from 18% before the crisis to 35%, according to government estimates."
Farhan underscored the need to address the political issues that are harming the economy. He said that even when the situation is resolved, Yemen will need a massive funding programme in 2012 to restore development projects and rebuild infrastructure to redress the effects of the crisis.
Ali al-Wafi, an economist, said the suspension of aid is "justified and expected because it is difficult to implement the procedures required for such projects during the current crisis."
"The worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen is not limited to suspension of aid from abroad. Government spending on aid programmes has also ceased. Addressing the political situation is the only way to remedy the humanitarian and the economic situation and permit a resumption of international aid to Yemen," he said.