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UN raises $ 2.6bn in donations for Yemen humanitarian aid | Yemen News



A United Nations donor conference for Yemen has raised about $ 2.6bn of the $ 4bn needed to address the humanitarian crisis in the country, where about 80,000 children under the age of five had already died of hunger, UN officials said on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were the main donors, pledging $ 500m each and contributing to a 30-percent increase in total pledges from last year.

But the two Gulf countries, backed by the United States and the United Kingdom are also active participants in the ongoing conflict, which has described the UN as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Since 201

5, a Saudi coalition has been carrying out air strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen to reinstate the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The Houthis has seized control of the capital Sanaa, the Hodeidah port and most of the northeastern part of the country.

The war has caused a hum anitarian emergency of catastrophic proportions, according to the UN, due to the blatant disregard for international humanitarian law at both parties. Nevertheless, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday praised the Gulf countries' contributions and abstained from any criticism of their actions, despite requests from the media to clarify the contradiction in their positions as donors – as well as parties in the conflict.

"This is a pledging conference and any contribution is welcome despite a country's role in the war," he said

Asked to comment on the ongoing UN investigations allegedly committed by all parties in the conflict, Guterres said they would continue as expected.

Humanitarian catastrophe

About 24 million people, 80 percent of the population , need humanitarian aid and protection, UN officials said at the conference

About 20 million people have no access to food, of which about 10 million Yemen is just one step away from family, according to UN figures

Since last year, due to continued fighting and the dire economy, and additional two million people became engulfed in Yemen's humanitarian crisis.

Children have drilled the brown of the conflict. About 80,000 children under the age of five had already died of starvation, according to Guterres, who was quoting from a report.

Eight children were killed as they went about their daily activities or other conflict-related causes, according to UNICEF, the UN agency for child protection

About 360,000 children are suffering from severe acute nutrition with life-threatening consequences.

According to Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen or a preventable disease because of the lack of essential health services. "Today Yemen is the worst place on earth for a child," Cappelaere told Al Jazeera. "I invite the parties to think of their own children when they sit at the negotiating table next time."

Stockholm Agreement

Addressing the media on Monday, Guterres admitted that the humanitarian response was not enough to address the Yemeni crisis Without the parties' serious engagement in the peace negotiations.

"There are no humanitarian solutions to humanitarian problems," he said.

The UN chief admitted that the implementation of the agreement reached between the Yemeni government and the Houthis in December had "obstacles".

The UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement signed in December 2018 and Security Council Resolution 2451 endorsement agreement, called for a ceasefire in the governance and mechanism for exchanging prisoners, among other confidence building measures.

However, little progress has been achieved since the parties with in Sweden, each accusing the other of not abiding by the agreement.

Whi le violence in Hodeidah has diminished, the conflict continues or has escalated in some areas such as Hajjah

Out of the 10 million on the death or family, nearly 240,000 are facing catastrophic levels of hunger.

Almost 20 million people lack access to adequate healthcare, and nearly 18 million do not have enough water or access to adequate sanitation.

More than three million people – including two million children – are acutely malnourished.

About 3.3 million remain displaced, including 685,000 who have fled fighting along the west coast which has been ongoing since June 2018.

Amid the conflict, the economy continues to unravel. The exchange rate is about 600 Yemeni Rials to the US dollar – up from about 400 Yemeni Rials, which was the level it recovered to following substantial injections of foreign exchange into the Central Bank of Yemen by Saudi Arabia in late 2018.

Response plan

The Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019 requires about $ 4bn to reach 15 million across the country.

The pledges made in Geneva will go towards increasing the number of people given emergency food aid, and heath and assistance to 12 million every month, up from 10 million in December last year.

According to Mark Lowcock, undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, donations made last year were divided among the 200 agencies in Yemen's 333 governorates.

But the UN operations also with delays and blockades due to restrictions imposed on humanitarian workers and convoys at both parties in the conflict.

Particularly, the blockade of Hodeidah port which normally handles 70 percent of food imported into Yemen and is a lifeline for the country, has been dire for the country.

Access to mills

Guterres on Tuesday also announced the UN had regained access to a stockpiling facility that could potentially feed some 3.7 million people for up to one month.

“We have good news, we have access to the Red Sea Mills again, "said Guterres.

That was later confirmed by Herve Verhoosel, World Food Program senior spokesman.

" I can confirm that the WFP assessment team has gained access to the Red Sea Mills for the first time since September 2018 when they were cut off by fighting in the area, "said Verhoosel.

At that time there were 51,000 metric tons of wheat in storage at the mills, which is enough to feed 3.7 million people for one month , and represents a quarter of WFP's wheat flour-milling capacity in the country. [function] (f, b, e, v, n, t, s) {if (f.fbq) return; n = f.fbq) = function () {n.callMethod?
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