Yemen war: Saudi-led coalition pledges $1.5bn in new aid

A malnourished Yemeni child receives treatment at a hospital in Yemen's rebel-held port city of Hodeida

Yemen´s Houthi movement fired a ballistic missile toward the southern Saudi province of Najran on Saturday, the group´s official al-Masirah TV reported, and a Saudi military spokesman said air defense forces had intercepted the missile.

It will also increase the capacities of Yemeni ports to receive aid and cargo shipments, and set up 17 "safe-passage corridors" for humanitarian groups.

Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis, where 8.3 million people are dependent on food aid, according to the UN. Three quarters of the population - 22.2 million people - need humanitarian assistance, including 11.3 million people in acute need who urgently require assistance to survive.

- An estimated 17.8 million Yemenis are considered "food insecure", meaning they do not know where their next meal will come from, according to the United Nations.

- As of late December, there were 381 suspected diphtheria cases in Yemen and 38 associated deaths, almost all of them children under 15, according to the World Health Organization.

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Fighting between pro-government forces, which are backed by the coalition, and the rebel Houthi movement has also left more than 9,245 dead and 52,800 injured. This is the largest consolidated humanitarian appeal for Yemen ever launched.

The new aid programme seeks to open land, sea and air lanes to Yemen to boost monthly imports to 1.4 million tons from 1.1 million in 2017, the statement said. However, it did not mention ending the restrictions on access to rebel-held facilities.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday deposited $2-billion in Yemen's central bank after the Yemeni prime minister made a public plea for funds to prop up the currency and help stave off hunger.

Bahraini Information Affairs Minister Ali al-Romaihi denounced recurrent Houthi attacks targeting cities in Saudi Arabia with tens of Iran-made ballistic missiles in a risky escalation aimed to undermine the security of the kingdom, the Gulf and the Arab countries.

The Trump administration has expressed concern about conditions in Yemen and has called on Saudi Arabia to allow the free flow of humanitarian aid, fuel and goods at Yemeni ports.


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