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New US restrictions on WHO, Houthis lead to COVID-19 puzzle in Yemen

While the Donald Trump administration is considering increasing its COVID-19 support for Yemen after slashing millions in aid, its new restrictions on the World Health Organization poses significant logistical challenges.
A health worker disinfects a market amid concerns of the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen April 13, 2020. Picture taken April 13, 2020. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah - RC2Z4G9VELS3

The Donald Trump administration is expected to provide slightly more COVID-19 relief to Yemen after cutting $73 million in humanitarian aid for the war-torn country last month. But Washington has yet to spell out its game plan for ensuring that assistance reaches the majority of the Yemeni population given Trump’s recent decision to end funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US refusal to administer assistance in Houthi-controlled territory.

“The United States is carefully monitoring the situation in close coordination with Yemeni health officials, the United Nations and other donors,” a State Department spokesperson told Al-Monitor. “We are working with our partners to adapt existing programs, as necessary, to address additional needs and are determining how we can most effectively and responsibly provide additional support for COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts.”

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