Saudi pledges $500m at Yemen donor conference



The pledge was announced on Tuesday by Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeahas, the supervisor of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, at a donor conference for Yemen.

The international pledging event is co-hosted by Saudi Arabia, which is leading an alliance to fight the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the UN.

The conference is aimed at raising 2.4 billion dollars to keep aid flowing to Yemen.

“Unless we secure significant funding, more than 30 out of 41 major UN programmes in Yemen will close in the next few weeks,’ UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a videoconference.

“Today’s pledges will help our UN humanitarian agencies and their partners on the ground to continue providing a lifeline to millions of Yemenis,” he added.

He added that aid agencies “are in a race against time” in Yemen.

He said that reports indicate that mortality rates from COVID-19 in Aden, the temporary seat of the Yemeni government, are among the highest in the world.

“That is just one sign of what lies ahead, if we do not act now,” he added.

Tackling COVID-19 on top of the existing humanitarian emergency requires urgent action. The pandemic is making it even more difficult and dangerous for humanitarian workers to reach Yemenis with life-saving aid,” he said.

Yemen has so far confirmed a total of 354 infections and 84 deaths from the coronavirus.

Yemen has been in the grip of a devastating power struggle since the Houthi rebels took over the capital, Sana’a, and other cities late in 2014.

The Houthis’ advance on the Saudi-backed Yemeni government seat of Aden prompted Saudi Arabia to form the Sunni coalition and start an air campaign against the Shiite group in March 2015.

The war has pushed Yemen, already one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, to the verge of famine and devastated its health facilities.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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