Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait pledge $1.25bn to Yemen aid effort

A girl carries a child near a hut in an improvised camp for internally displaced people near Abs of the northwestern province of Hajja, Yemen. (Reuters)
Updated 27 February 2019

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait pledge $1.25bn to Yemen aid effort

  • Approximately 24 million people are affected by the humanitarian crisis in Yemen
  • The conference hopes to raise $4 billion in aid

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia pledged $500 million on Tuesday in humanitarian assistance for Yemen this year during a UN money-raising conference in Geneva.

The UAE also pledged $500 million while Kuwait committed $250 million for Yemen.

The UN said 40 pledges totaling $2.6 billion were received during the day-long conference, a 30-percent increase from the amount drummed up at a similar conference a year ago.

The United Nations' "Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen" in 2019 seeks $4 billion to reach 15 million people across the country, after raising nearly $2.6 billion last year.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, opening the conference, lamented "an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe" in Yemen, where some 24 million people, or four-fifths of Yemen's total population, require aid and protection.

"Twenty million people cannot reliably feed themselves or their families," he said. "Almost 10 million are just one step away from famine."

 Britain promised $264 million, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) $24 million. Malaysia was also pledging $100,000 during the conference.

This is the third pledging conference hosted by the United Nation to help what the organization deemed as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
The pledges came as UN officials said on Tuesday that aid workers regained access to key grain storage silos in Hodeida for the first time in six months.
The Houthis militants fighting the legitimate government had blocked the World Food Program from crossing a front line into the government-controlled area where the silos are located.
WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel said some 51,000 metric tons of wheat — enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month — had been in storage at the site when it was rendered inaccessible. He said an assessment is under way to determine the state of the wheat.

*With AP and AFP

 


Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

Updated 8 min 19 sec ago

Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

  • EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities as demanded by the US is not a genuine cease-fire
  • He calls on Ankara to immediately stop military operations,

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: Macron critizes Turkey's aggression in Syria as "madness', bewails NATO inaction

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has bemoaned Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria as “madness” and decried NATO’s inability to react to the assault as a “serious mistake.”

“It weakens our credibility in finding partners on the ground who will be by our side and who think they will be protected in the long term. So that raises questions about how NATO functions.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities is not a genuine cease-fire and called on Ankara to immediately stop military operations in Syria.

Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the cease-fire had unclear goals. 

There was no mention of the scope of the area that would be under Turkish control and, despite US Vice President Mike Pence referring to a 20-mile zone, the length of the zone remains ambiguous, she said.

Selim Sazak, a doctoral researcher at Brown University, believed the agreement would be implemented and the YPG would withdraw.

“The agency of the YPG is fairly limited. If the deal collapses because of the YPG, it’s actually all the better for Ankara,” he told Arab News. “What Ankara originally wanted was to take all of the belt into its control and eliminate as many of the YPG forces as possible. Instead, the YPG is withdrawing with a portion of its forces and its territory intact. Had the deal collapsed because of the YPG, Ankara would have reason to push forward, this time with much more legitimacy.”