Arab coalition to give $1.5bn in Yemen aid

The new aid programme aims to boost monthly imports to 1.4 million metric tonnes from 1.1 million last year

FILE - In this April 13, 2017, file photo, Yemenis present documents in order to receive food rations provided by a local charity, in Sanaa, Yemen. Saudi Arabia said Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018 that the coalition it is leading in Yemen will provide $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid for international relief organizations working in the impoverished country. It comes as aid groups say coalition airstrikes are destroying critical infrastructure and that the coalition needs to do more to facilitate the delivery of fuel, food and medicine at Yemeni ports. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)
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The Arab coalition fighting in Yemen on behalf of the internationally recognised government said on Monday it will commit $1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) in humanitarian aid for the country, where it has been battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

"We are backing a professionally planned and detailed humanitarian mission with military power and precision to guarantee that the humanitarian aid reaches the people who need it to lift their suffering," spokesman Col Turki Malki said in a statement.

"The coalition will co-ordinate … $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid funding for distribution across UN agencies and international relief organisations."

The Saudi-led coalition, which also includes the UAE, said it would operate an air bridge to Marib, establish 17 overland corridors for aid deliveries and lead the expansion of additional Yemeni ports to receive humanitarian and essential cargo. An air corridor between the Saudi capital Riyadh and the central Yemeni province of Marib to run multiple aid flights of C130 cargo planes.

The new aid programme aims to boost monthly imports to 1.4 million metric tonnes from 1.1 million last year, the statement added.


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The expansion of ports will be supported with up to $40 million, and $30 million will go towards transportation costs of non-humanitarian shipments intended for the port of Al Hodeida, in rebel-held territory, to "their intended destination in Yemen".

Saudi Arabia last week deposited $2 billion in Yemen's central bank to prop up the currency and ease hunger.

Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, where 8.3 million people are dependent on food aid, according to the UN. The nearly three-year civil war has pushed the country to edge of famine with outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemen in 2015 to push back the Houthi rebels and restore the country's legitimate government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi. The Houthi rebels, backed by the Iranian regime, have repeatedly launched ballistic missile towards Saudi, which has successfully shot them down.

More than 10,000 people have been killed and three million displaced in Yemen’s civil war.