Saudi-led coalition announces $1.5 billion in aid for Yemen

Kristen Gonzales
January 23, 2018

Yemen's humanitarian situation worsened due to a crippling blockade of rebel-held ports by the Saudi-led coalition.

It will also increase the capacities of Yemeni ports to receive aid and cargo shipments, and set up 17 "safe-passage corridors" for humanitarian groups.

"$1.5bn in new humanitarian aid funding for distribution across United Nations agencies and worldwide relief organisations", the coalition announced in a statement.

Saudi Arabia and its allies are facing mounting criticism - including from the U.S. - over the civilian toll in Yemen's conflict. The rebels, known Houthis, who are backed by Iran, still control the capital, Sanaa, and territory in Yemen's north, which borders Saudi Arabia.

The latest aid package, which follows last week's $2-billion Saudi cash injection to Yemen's central bank, comes amid an ever-broadening crisis in the war-torn country, where the conflict, cholera and looming starvation have killed thousands and put millions of lives at risk.

A number of ballistic missiles have been fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen into Saudi Arabia in recent weeks - Riyadh stepped up airstrikes as a result.

A recent United Nations report on human rights abuses related to foreign intervention in Yemen documented a number of civilian casualties inflicted by Saudi-led coalition bombing. Yemen imports about 90 per cent of the country's staple food and almost all of its fuel and medicine, according to the UN.

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The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced over two million and unleashed a wave of hunger and disease. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported past year that airstrikes remained the single largest cause of civilian casualties.

Currently, 1.3-million people "urgently require assistance to survive.a generation of children is growing up in suffering and deprivation", added the OCHA. The U.S. supports the coalition with refuelling, logistics and intelligence.

Only in the third financial quarter of 2017, German arms sale to Saudi Arabia accounted for US$550 million.

The UK has licensed more than 4.6 billion pounds ($6.3bn) worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the war in Yemen began, according to the UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

Aid groups that say coalition airstrikes are destroying critical infrastructure and that the coalition needs to do more to facilitate the delivery of staple goods at Yemen's ports. Some 380 cases of suspected diphtheria were also reported, causing at least 38 deaths, nearly all among children.

Berlin has halted all weapons sales to Riyadh and its allies, in part due to the latter's prosecution of an ongoing war in Yemen that is killing civilians by the thousands.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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