Overshadowed by the conflict in Ukraine, war-torn Yemen – already suffering the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN – is on the verge of total collapse.
The United Nations and aid groups have warned of grave consequences for Yemen after an international pledging conference failed to raise enough money to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the war-torn country.
The UN voiced disappointment on Friday after Wednesday's conference raised less than a third of the target to help 17.3 million of Yemen's needy.
Overshadowed by the conflict in Ukraine, aid-starved Yemen – already suffering the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN – is on the verge of total collapse.
With the country almost completely dependent on imports, aid groups say the situation will only worsen following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which produces nearly a third of Yemeni wheat supplies.
Some 80 percent of its around 30 million people depend on aid for survival, after seven years of a conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, directly or indirectly.
The UN has repeatedly warned that aid agencies are running out of funds, forcing them to slash "life-saving" programmes.
"A shortfall in funding means the needs of people will not be met," Auke Lootsma, the UN Development Programme's resident representative to Yemen, told AFP news agency.
"The outlook for next year looks very bleak for Yemen. This is the bleakest situation we've had so far in the country."
At the brink of famine
"Clearly, pressing concerns over events in the Ukraine cast a shadow on (the pledging) event," Abeer Etefa, a WFP spokesperson for the Middle East and North Africa region, told AFP.
The violent struggle between Yemen's internationally recognised government, supported by a Saudi-led military coalition, and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels has pushed the country to the brink of famine.
The UN's World Food Programme has said the levels of hunger risk becoming catastrophic as the Ukraine crisis pushes up food prices.
Even before Russia attacked its neighbour, the WFP said Yemeni food rations were being reduced for eight million people this year, while another five million "at immediate risk of slipping into famine conditions" would remain on full rations.
UN agencies had warned before the conference that up to 19 million people could need food assistance in the second half of 2022.