16 Jul 2013 07:54

UNITED NATIONS, July 16 (Bernama) -- The United Nations on Monday appealed for US$702 million to assist more than seven million Yemenis in meeting basic living needs, China's Xinhua news agency reported quoting a spokesperson as saying here.

The Humanitarian Country Team in Yemen, representing UN agencies and international and local NGOs, launched the humanitarian appeal for this year, seeking to provide food, clean water, healthcare and other vital services to 7.7 million of the most vulnerable Yemenis, said Martin Nesirky, the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General, at the daily briefing.

"The humanitarian challenges in Yemen are enormous, with over half the population in need of humanitarian assistance," Nesirky said.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 13 million people are still in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. Food insecurity and malnutrition persist in the country, coupled with outbreaks of fatal diseases including measles.

"Conflict and instability elsewhere in the region and the ongoing political transition in Yemen have overshadowed the humanitarian crisis," Nesirky quoted Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, as saying.

Most critical activities have been identified in the humanitarian plan to help people in greatest and most urgent need, the OCHA said in a news release.

In recent years, Yemen has simultaneously faced intermittent internal armed conflict in the north, a resurgent separatist movement in the south and increasingly active Islamic militants in the south and elsewhere. This is in the context of an already volatile and impoverished country with considerable development challenges and pre-existing humanitarian needs.

Yemen has been undergoing a democratic transition led by President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, who came to power in a February 2012 election. A major milestone was achieved in March of this year with the opening of the national dialogue conference that will feed into a constitution-making process and pave the way for general elections in 2014.