Published: Wed, April 26, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

UN hosts aid-pledging conference for beleaguered Yemen

The United Nations secretary-general and high-ranking government officials from dozens of countries are meeting to drum up funds for war-torn Yemen, considered the world's greatest humanitarian crisis.

In response to the US$1.12 billion pledged to Yemen during the high-level event today in Geneva, Oxfam says the global community has fallen short in its support for the Yemeni people.

"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.

A United Nations appeal for $2.1 billion for Yemen is only 15 percent covered, Guterres said at the conference opening.

Some 17 million of Yemen's 26 million people lack sufficient food and at least three million malnourished children are in "grave peril", O'Brien said. "On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every ten minutes".

The Saudi-led coalition of Arab states started a military campaign to defeat the rebels and restore the legitimate government in 2015.

The U.N.'s humanitarian aid coordinator, OCHA, has pointed to "an alarming 18.8 million people in need of humanitarian or protection assistance" in Yemen.

"Our additional funding will help humanitarian agencies in the country that operate under extremely hard circumstances to continue delivering lifesaving aid to those in need".

It is hosting the Geneva conference in conjunction with the Swiss and Swedish governments. Almost seven million people are facing starvation.

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"Our humanitarian appeal for 2017 is $2.1 billion and only 15 percent has been met until the present moment", Guterres said in his opening remarks to the gathering.

Geneva, April 25, 2017-With medical teams working across Yemen, we at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) witness on a daily basis the reality of the humanitarian crisis facing its people.

"This means fifty children in Yemen will die during today's conference - and all those deaths could have been prevented", he stated.

"We are concerned about [all] facilities in Yemen because at this stage we can't afford to even lose one bridge or one road network let alone to lose a major facility like Hodeidah port", he said. But Guterres praised the generosity of donor nations, pointing out that such conferences generally do not gather more than a third of the requested amount.

"We are in a race against time", he added.

Yemen's conflict has been overshadowed by the war in Syria, which has generated a far larger refugee crisis.

Citing figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Amnesty said the U.S. and United Kingdom have sent weaponry worth more than $5 billion to Saudi Arabia since Riyadh's intervention began in March 2015.

Kendall said that while it's a positive thing so much money was raised for the country, the issue of getting it in still remains.

The British aid agency also said the global community must send a clear message that a coalition attack against Hodeidah, the strategic Red Sea entry point for some 70% of Yemen's food imports, would be "totally unacceptable".

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