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November 27 2020
9:36 AM
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WORLD NEWS

On the brink of starvation: How aid cuts by the US and its allies are pushing millions of people towards famine
  
Abs, Yemen — The doctors and nurses at the malnutrition ward in Abs Hospital are used to scrambling -- there is rarely enough time in the day to see the number of emaciated children that come in. But things have never been quite this bad.

In the past few months, the power has dropped out daily and high fuel prices mean they can't always keep their generators going. When that happens, their monitors and ventilators switch off. Children who could have been saved, die.

"Those who aren't killed by the airstrikes or this war? They will die from shortages in medical supplies," Dr. Ali Al Ashwal tells CNN at the hospital in Hajjah, northwest of the capital, Sanaa.

In March, the Trump administration and the US' key regional allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, slashed their funding to the United Nations' appeal for Yemen. The funding cuts mean reduced health care services for Yemeni civilians, with some forced to close. They have also forced aid agencies to stretch food assistance thin.

This state of affairs is evident at Abs Hospital. In the first half of the year, it received nearly 700 patients suffering from malnutrition. In August, the case load was double the average monthly total, according to hospital staff.
"Our clinic usually takes between 100 and 150 cases in a month, and in one month we have received approximately double the amount. While at the same time, medical supplies have decreased," Dr. Al Ashwal said.


"The hardest part is when we lose a child when there could have been a chance for them to survive -- if the situation was different."

In 2019, the US contributed almost $1 billion to the UN appeal, but this year, it has donated less than half that so far, giving $411 million, UN data shows.

Those cuts have largely impacted areas in the north controlled by the Iran-backed Ansarullah -- known as Houthi rebels -- whom the US and several other donor nations accuse of interfering in humanitarian operations.

Despite the US' sizeable cut in funding, it is still the biggest donor to the UN's Yemen appeal.
A spokesperson for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) told CNN that the country would resume all operations in the Houthi-controlled north "when we are confident that ...