Riyadh, January 22: Keeping up its promise, Saudi Arabia on Monday announced a massive amount $1.5 billion in aid for Yemen which is suffering from worst phase due to civil war and cholera outbreak. Notably, the situation in Yemen has gone to worst as it is suffering from dual attack ie. civil war and another one from the outbreak of cholera.
Saudi Arabian authorities announced $1.5 billion in new aid for Yemen, where nearly three years of conflict has devastated the local economy and pushed millions to the brink of famine, causing what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
The authorities further said that the coalition in Yemen would also lead the expansion of additional Yemeni ports to receive cargo and humanitarian assistance, ensure multiple daily flights of cargo planes carrying aid from Saudi Arabia to Yemen's Marib province and establish safe passage corridors to ensure transportation of aid to non-governmental organizations operating inside Yemen.
In a press conference, the Kingdom said that the expansion of ports will be supported with up to USD 40 million from the Saudi-led coalition. The coalition said that it would also allocate up to USD 30 million to cover transportation costs of non-humanitarian shipments intended for the port of Hodeida, in rebel-held territory, to “their intended destination in Yemen”.
Additionally, the kingdom said it will make a donation of up to $2 billion in fuel for the transportation of humanitarian aid.
Importantly, the civil war in Yemen has led to the massive outbreak of cholera and this both factors have killed or injured more than 5,000 children and left another 400,000 severely malnourished and fighting for their lives. Due to an outbreak of cholera in April last year, 96% parts of Yemen is severely hampered and affected.
The strategic Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, which is under Houthi control, has the highest number of cases with over 143,000 while the island of Socotra is the only area that has not witnessed a cholera outbreak. On the other side, Hajjah province has had the highest number of cholera deaths with 417.
Interestingly, with over 20 million people dependent on aid, Yemen is the world's single largest humanitarian crisis, now made even worse with the outbreak of cholera. Less than half the country’s hospitals are running and less than a third of the needed medicines are available due to which conditions are getting worst.
Saudi Arabia and other countries support the Yemeni government. Their military coalition has been conducting air attacks against Shia rebels since March 2015. The anti-government forces are reported to be supported by Iran. Due to which, Yemen's currency slid further against the dollar late last year after the coalition blocked access to all of Yemen's ports for several weeks in response to a Houthi missile launched at the Saudi capital.
The United Nations said more than 22 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and 8 million are on the brink of famine. The war has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced 3 million. The Saudis have allocated nearly $57 billion for military spending in 2018 or about 22 percent of the overall government budget for this year. The kingdom, however, has not disclosed how much it spends on the war in Yemen.