Saudi Arabia on Monday announced $1.5 billion in new aid for Yemen, where nearly three years of conflict have 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 kingdom said Monday the coalition it heads 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.
The expansion of ports will be supported with up to $40 million from the Saudi-led coalition. The coalition said that it would also allocate up to $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 will make a donation of up to $2 billion in fuel for the transportation of humanitarian aid.
The announcement comes amid mounting international criticism of the Saudi-led coalition’s role in the war, particularly civilian deaths caused by airstrikes as well as coalition control of Yemen’s ports, which are a lifeline for imports.
Human Rights Watch says the Saudi-led coalition delayed and diverted tankers bringing badly needed fuel for power generators for hospitals in 2017, while the rebels the coalition is fighting have also blocked and confiscated aid. Yemen imports about 90 percent of the country’s staple food and nearly all of its fuel and medicine, according to the U.N.
Read full article by Aya Batrawy from Associated Press on Bloomberg Politics, January 22, 2018.