Health Care

Yemen - The Humanitarian Response Plan has been launched

Yemen - The Humanitarian Response Plan has been launched

A Saudi-led military coalition on Monday announced $1.5bn in new humanitarian aid for Yemen, after the United Nations made what it called a record appeal for assistance for the war-ravaged country.

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.

In 2017, global donors provided $1.65-billion of the $2.34-billion requested by the United Nations and humanitarian partners in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia's announcement today is being followed by a press conference as the kingdom and its embassies overseas assertively promote the country's recent humanitarian efforts in Yemen, including a deposit of United States dollars 2 billion in Yemen's Central Bank last week after an urgent appeal was made to save the currency from collapse and the country from "inevitable famine".

The Houthis have launched scores of missiles at the kingdom.

The Saudi-led coalition has intervened in the Yemeni conflict since March 2015 to roll back the Houthi militants and support the internationally-recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forced into exile by the Houthis. Yemen imports about 90 per cent of the country's staple food and almost all of its fuel and medicine, according to the UN.

The total number of projectiles fired towards Saudi Arabia is nearing 100 since the war, which has killed more than 10,000 people, began. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported a year ago that airstrikes remained the single largest cause of civilian casualties.

The charity Save the Children said it welcomed any measures to allow more access to humanitarian supplies and support the United Nations appeal, but warned that "aid can only provide a fraction of what Yemen needs to survive".

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

Germany "isn't taking any arms exports decisions right now that aren't in line with the results of the preliminary talks", Steffan Seibert, a spokesperson for Merkel, said in a post on Twitter. Norway has suspended munitions exports to the United Arab Emirates based on its role in the Yemen conflict.

Earlier this month, UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock called for sustained and higher levels of imports, particularly through ports at Hodeida and Salif, which are in rebel-held territory.

According to the World Health Organization's latest count, the cholera outbreak has killed 2,167 people since the end of April and is suspected to have infected more than one million people.