Middle East

UN raises $1.1B to avert famine in war-torn Yemen

One child under age 5 dies of preventable causes in Yemen every 10 minutes, says UN chief Antonio Guterres

UN raises $1.1B to avert famine in war-torn Yemen


By Fatih Erel


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that international donor countries have pledged $1.1 billion for humanitarian aid to war-torn Yemen for 2017, or half of the needs for this year.

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.

Only an additional 15 percent of the Yemen humanitarian response plan had been funded before the conference. Following today's conference, over 65 percent of the entire appeal for this year has been raised so far.

At the conference, Guterres said, "Nearly two-thirds of the population -- or almost 19 million people -- need emergency support.”

He added, “Some 17 million are food-insecure, making this the world’s largest hunger crisis."

For his part, Yemen’s Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid Mubarek Bin-Dagher said, "We support the efforts of the UN and its humanitarian aid for 2017. There are millions who need this. Some of them are writhing with hunger, $2.1 billion is the minimum that we should plan on raising funds."

UNICEF warned on Tuesday, "The continuing violence in Yemen is fuelling one of the worst hunger crises in the world, with nearly 7 million people not knowing where their next meal will come from and in desperate need of food assistance. Nearly 2.2 million children are malnourished, including half a million who are severely malnourished and at imminent risk of death if they do not receive urgent care and specialized treatment".

- Toll of 10,000 lives

Yemen has remained in a state of chaos since 2014, when Houthis and their allies overran the capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing members of Yemen’s Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

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.

Last year, Yemen’s government and the Houthi rebels entered into UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait in an effort to resolve the conflict, which has claimed more than 10,000 lives, according to UN figures.

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