UN Welcomes a 1 billion Commitment to Help Yemen

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres urged countries today to pitch in to help prevent a looming starvation in war-torn Yemen, warning that children especially were already dying at an alarming rate. "We are ready to assist Yemen after the conflict", Stylianides said at an aid-pledging conference in Geneva.

Antonio Guterres and top diplomats from Switzerland and Sweden are co-hosting a pledging conference in the Swiss city that's aimed at helping assemble $2.1 billion in a United Nations relief appeal that was launched this year. "On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every 10 minutes", Guterres said.

"Some 17 million are food-insecure, making this the world's largest hunger crisis", Mr. Guterres said, highlighting a situation worsened by import restrictions and the destruction of port facilities.

Before the conflict between the Saudi-led coalition, supporting Yemen's government, and Houthi rebels began, Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East.

This means that about only 30% of the supplies Yemen needs are getting into the country at all.

It is hosting the Geneva conference in conjunction with the Swiss and Swedish governments.

"War has devastated the economy, destroyed health services, and forced three million people from their homes - leaving many unable to earn a living or grow crops".




The appeal for $2.1 billion is 15 percent funded, the United Nations said. "We are witnessing the starving and the crippling of an entire generation", he said, adding that Yemen is gripped by "the world's largest hunger crisis".

Minister of State Joe McHugh said Ireland will pledge at least €4m for the crisis in Yemen.

"During this one-day donor conference another six children will be killed or injured - the unacceptable cost of the world's failure to act", said Grant Pritchard, Save the Children's interim Yemen director.

In February, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien told reporters about the extent of the crisis in the war-torn country of 25.6 million. "The EU is committed to supporting the Yemeni people and we encourage the global community to step up its collective humanitarian response", he added. These commitments today are an encouraging sign in the face of the goal of having the necessary funding in Yemen, he said.

The prime minister pointed out that the legitimate government - backed by the Saudi-led Coalition - has scored major victories in fighting terrorism. And Yemen's food crisis could become even more severe if the global community does not send a clear message that a possible attack against Al-Hudaydah, the entry point for an estimated 70 per cent of Yemen's food imports, would be totally unacceptable. Several countries, including the USA, the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, and Italy, are attending the event while they continue to sell billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment to parties to the conflict.

Speaking in Beirut, Mr Cappelaere said Unicef and other aid groups have called on all parties to keep the port and other entry points, such as the Sanaa airport, open on a daily basis to bring in much-needed supplies.

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