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The U.S. and Yemen’s Humanitarian Catastrophe

The U.S. is finally offering some new humanitarian assistance for the country it is helping to ruin:

The U.S. will provide $89 million in additional humanitarian aid to war-torn Yemen, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced Wednesday.

Obviously, Yemen can use all the assistance it can get, so this is a welcome move, albeit one that is long overdue. The U.S. has previously provided roughly the same amount before, and its total contribution now amounts to approximately $170 million, but this is still far less than what Yemen needs. One of Yemen’s many problems is that pledges of aid have been coming in very slowly and some of the governments that have made pledges (chiefly Saudi Arabia) have been in no hurry to deliver on their promises. Omer Karasapan summed up the problem in a recent review of Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe:

Here unfortunately, the situation is dire: only 19 percent, $298 million, of the $1.6 billion requested by humanitarian agencies has been funded. There have been contributions of $252 million outside of this humanitarian appeal but the shortfall is still above $1 billion.

The announcement of the U.S. contribution is a reminder that the aid Yemen needs is not being provided to the country, and even if all requests were filled they would not be able to replace the loss of commercial imports caused by the blockade. What makes the relatively small U.S. contribution even less impressive is the fact that the U.S. is daily aiding in the campaign that is battering and starving Yemeni civilians. The administration is applying a small band-aid to a gaping wound that it continues to help inflict on Yemen. The U.S. could do far more to remedy the humanitarian disaster in Yemen if it would press for an end to the blockade and a halt to the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive, but we know that isn’t going to happen.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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