14:40 GMT +321 January 2020
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    The UN has praised Saudi Arabia for their efforts to improve the horrific humanitarian situation in their war-ravaged southern neighbor of Yemen - a crisis that the Saudis were the primary perpetrators of.

    During a meeting with Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Said Al-Jaber, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock applauded the $1 billion in grants from the kingdom and their close ally, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to the UN. 

    A soldier walks at Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen May 10, 2017
    © REUTERS / Abduljabbar Zeyad/File Photo

    The grants were given to the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP), the UN's plan to restore humanitarian conditions after the catastrophic effects of the Yemeni Civil War.

    Lowcock also praised the cooperation with the UN World Food Program (WFP) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). He went on to say that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi had vowed to raise an additional $500 million.

    "If fully funded, the United Nations and its partners will provide, among other assistance, emergency food to more than 8.5 million Yemenis, nutritional services to 5.6 million children, pregnant women and mothers and safe water to 5.4 million people," he said.

    "The UN and its partners will also rehabilitate more than 1,400 schools and 650 health facilities destroyed by the ongoing conflict," he said. "I hope this generosity will encourage more donors to contribute to the YHRP, including ahead of the international pledging conference on Yemen to be held in Geneva on April 3."

    Al-Jaber, who also leads the Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations Support Center, said that the Saudi-led coalition are maintaining 22 entry points and 17 safe passages to ensure humanitarian relief comes to Yemenis in need.

    The money is to be received by March 31, according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. However, he added, the YHRP will take almost $3 billion to effectively respond to the ongoing crisis.

    Unmentioned by either man was the culpability of the Saudis and UAE in the humanitarian crisis, which has engulfed 22.2 million Yemenis. Riyadh intervened in the ongoing civil war on behalf of the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi against factions loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his Houthi allies. 

    Although the fighting continues to rage in Yemen, the war has entered a stalemate. Riyadh has been bombing and besieging the Houthi capital of Sana'a for almost three years, but the city has yet to capitulate, despite many reports of extremely inhumane conditions faced by the residents.

    An estimated 14,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting, although it isn't clear how many of them died as a result of Saudi-led coalition activity. On Sunday, nine Yemeni civilians were reported dead from a Saudi airstrike in Sana'a.

    The Saudi blockade has also led to the worst outbreak of cholera in modern history, affecting over 840,000 people and killing at least 2,100. Cholera is an easy disease to treat and prevent, but the Saudi blockade has kept many Yemenis from receiving even basic medical care.

    In the past, the United Nations has accused the Saudis of deliberately targeting civilians with airstrikes, including refugee camps, weddings, schools and hospitals.


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    humanitarian aid, Yemeni Civil War, United Nations, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Saudi Arabia, Yemen
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