WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) a senior member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Friday joined a bipartisan group of 7 senators in calling on Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates to fulfill his country’s $750 million commitment to the United Nations to help fund critical programs aimed at alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. In the letter, the members warn that critical programs that provide vaccinations, food, fuel, and medicine are at risk, jeopardizing hundreds of thousands more lives in Yemen.
U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) joined in this effort.
“In 2019, the UAE was again one of the largest committed donors to respond to the UN humanitarian appeal. However, we are concerned that so far the UAE has provided only a portion of its promised $750 million commitment.” the members wrote.
The members continued: “We share your concern with reports of aid diversion by Houthi militants, and have been reassured by the UN’s actions to halt programs where aid is found to be not going to the intended recipients. We are unaware of any reasons for further delay.”
The full text of the letter can be viewed here and below:
September 13, 2019
His Royal Highness
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Your Royal Highness,
We are writing today regarding the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen and current funding shortfalls facing the relief effort. As members who follow developments in Yemen closely, we are deeply appreciative of the contributions the United Arab Emirates has made to multilateral efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis. Unfortunately, the international community now faces an urgent crisis as vital programs implemented by the UN and its humanitarian partners have begun to shut down due to the lack of delivery on funding commitments for 2019. We therefore ask that you help ensure that the UAE fulfills its $750 million commitment to the 2019 United Nations humanitarian appeal, and help prevent the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
We recognize that the United Arab Emirates has been one of the top contributors to humanitarian efforts in Yemen, contributing more than $5.5 billion in aid since 2015. Furthermore, the $930 million in block funding provided by the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2018 allowed the United Nations to prevent a widespread cholera outbreak and stave off a famine. These contributions saved countless numbers of lives.
In 2019, the UAE was again one of the largest committed donors to respond to the UN humanitarian appeal. However, we are concerned that so far the UAE has provided only a portion of its promised $750 million commitment. The UN was counting on this funding; without it, critical programs to provide vaccinations, food assistance, fuel and medicine are all being shut down. If funding is not received by the end of October, 5 million people – in a country facing the largest cholera outbreak in modern history – will lose access to clean water.
We share your concern with reports of aid diversion by Houthi militants, and have been reassured by the UN’s actions to halt programs where aid is found to be not going to the intended recipients. We are unaware of any reasons for further delay. As you know, Yemen is currently the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and we have a shared obligation to prevent the suffering and death of innocent civilians who bear the consequences of an ongoing civil war.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue. We look forward to working with you to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.