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Two billion dollars needed to avert famine in Yemen, UN says


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Two billion dollars needed to avert famine in Yemen, UN says

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International delegates gathered in Geneva were told by the UN on Tuesday that they need to raise two point one billion dollars if millions of severely malnourished Yemenis are to be saved from dying of hunger.

So far only fifteen percent of that figure has been raised.

“The International Community and the U.N., everybody together needs to move and to move in fast. If we don’t move in today, if we don’t do something very quickly, Yemen will be facing famine very, very soon,” the World Food Programme’s Regional Director Muhannad Hadi said.

The WFP said it reached five million Yemenis last month with rations but said it needs to scale up deliveries to reach the nine million deemed “severely food insecure.”

“On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every ten minutes. And this means fifty children in Yemen will die during today’s conference, and all those deaths could have been prevented. We must act now, to save lives,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the conference in Geneva.

United Nations and Russian officials have warned against an attack by the Saudi-led coalition on the rebel-held port of Hodeidah, the aid lifeline for a country where millions of people are in desperate need of food.

Air strikes by the coalition have destroyed five out of six cranes at Hodeidah, forcing dozens of ships to wait offshore before docking.

UN officials says all the warring factions there must now ensure deliveries of food aid.

The government, backed by Saudi Arabia and the West, has been fighting Houthi rebels aligned with Iran for more than two years in a war that has killed at least 10,000 people.

A Saudi-led military coalition is preparing an assault on Hodeidah.

Yemeni officials said earlier this month the government and its allies had positioned two brigades for a possible attack, one 230 km (140 miles) north of Hodeidah and the other 130 km (80 miles) to the south.

The coalition has accused the Houthi rebels of using the port to smuggle weapons and has tried to block ships from entering.

Guterres renewed a call for peace talks and urged all parties to allow the unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid by air, sea and land.

Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid Bin Daghr said his Aden-based government, which controls only part of the country, would allow access for aid supplies.

Initial pledges announced at the conference included $150 million from Saudi Arabia, $100 million from Kuwait, $94 million from the United States, and 116 million euros from the European Commission.

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