Yemen funds desperately needed to avert starvation: United Nations chief

26 April, 2017, 08:55 | Author: Essie Rivera

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah the supervisor general for KSRelief, issued the announcement during the Geneva aid conference, a day-long meeting of worldwide donors focused on responding to Yemen's humanitarian crisis.

"The world needs to ramp up aid to Yemen at this critical moment, when millions of people are at risk of dying of hunger", said NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland. "On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every ten minutes".

To help the country which is experiencing one of the world's worse humanitarian crisis, a number of efforts need to be put in place, including "lifting the restriction on the movement of goods into the country, and also within the country", he said.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and restoring the country's internationally recognized government.

According to the United Nations, nearly two-thirds of the population, or almost 19 million people, need emergency support.

Hisham Al-Omeisy, a political analyst based in Sana'a, told the Guardian that people in Yemen were not optimistic about the prospects of worldwide aid.

The minister-level meeting was convened in Geneva because only 15 per cent of the $US2.1 billion ($A2.8 billion) that are needed to aid Yemen this year have been donated so far.

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He noted that the "man-made crisis" had devastated the economy of a country that was "pitifully poor" even before the current conflict, and forced three million people from their homes - leaving many being unable to earn a living or grow crops.

At the end of a pledging conference in Geneva, Guterres told reporters that the countries raised half of the $2.1 billion sought for 2017.

Shane Stevenson, Oxfam's Senior Program Manager for Yemen, said: "However much money has been pledged today, the best way to prevent starvation in Yemen is for weapons to fall silent and for the parties to the conflict to return to the negotiating table". "This means 50 children in Yemen will die during today's conference, and all of those deaths could have been prevented", he added.

Delegates attend the High-level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, April 25, 2017.

"We must invest in education and protection before we lose an entire generation of psychologically scarred and uneducated children", Pritchard added.

A Saudi-led military coalition is preparing an assault on Hodeidah, which lies on the Red Sea and is the point of entry for almost 80 percent of Yemen's food imports.

The coalition is supported by the USA, Great Britain and France, among others. These commitments today are an encouraging sign in the face of the goal of having the necessary funding in Yemen, he said. The United States, a long-time friend of the Saudis, has provided weapons and intelligence to the Kingdom on the sly, and President Donald Trump has recently considered ramping up the U.S.'s involvement. "Worldwide humanitarian law is being flouted with civilians and civilian infrastructure paying the price", said Mr Mardini.


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