FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, file photo, a father gives water to his malnourished daughter at a feeding center in a hospital in Hodeida, Yemen. The United Nations children's agency said Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 that Yemen's economic crisis and the relentless violence at a key Red Sea port city risks leaving millions of children and families without food, clean water and sanitation. The United Nations children's agency said Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 that Yemen's economic crisis and the relentless violence at a key Red Sea port city risks leaving millions of children and families without food, clean water and sanitation. UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. humanitarian chief says the conflict in Yemen has left 8.4 million people dependent on emergency food assistance and 75 percent of its 22 million people requiring some form of aid. Mark Lowcock warns in an analysis obtained Monday night by The Associated Press that humanitarian officials "estimate that 3.5 million to 4 million more people could become severely food insecure in the months ahead."
GENEVA - The United Nations regained access to a grain facility near Yemen's Hodeida port on Tuesday, potentially allowing an increase in food aid to millions at risk of starvation after years of devastating war, humanitarian officials said. The breakthrough was announced by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at a humanitarian pledging conference in Geneva aimed at averting famine in Yemen. But talks aimed at securing a pullout from Hodeida by Iran-aligned Houthi forces holding the city and Saudi-led coalition forces appeared stalled again despite U.N. efforts to clear the way to wider negotiations on ending the conflict. Western diplomats said an inspection of the grain stores in the port had been carried out but the warring sides still needed to agree on which road could be used to transport to transport supplies from the site to needy recipients. Guterres said $2.6 billion has been pledged so far toward a U.N. appeal of $4.2 billion this year for Yemen, where 24 million people, or 80 percent of the population of the Arabian Peninsula nation, is in need of aid.
Saudi Arabia has confirmed it will host a virtual donors' conference next week for Yemen together with the United Nations, which has said the conflict-riven nation risks being overwhelmed by the coronavirus. The state-run Saudi Press Agency on Friday cited a directive from King Salman confirming Tuesday's donor conference with which the UN aims to raise $2.4bn in one of the biggest aid operations so far. "If we don't get the funding we need and if more isn't done to suppress the virus, COVID-19 could engulf Yemen," Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said in a statement. Millions of people need aid in Yemen, whose government was removed from the capital, Sanaa. The next year, a Saudi-led military coalition intervened to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.
The kingdom, which is currently leading a coalition of Sunni Arab states in bombing Yemen, said it was "immediately" closing off access to all of Yemen's ports after Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile towards the Saudi capital Riyadh. Within hours of the missile being intercepted, Saudi Arabia launched a series of air strikes on the Yemeni capital Sanaa, targeting the Houthi-controlled presidential palace, the national security headquarters and the interior ministry. "To address vulnerabilities," the coalition said, "... it has been decided to temporarily close all Yemeni ground, air, and sea ports". Yemen's national airline, Yemenia, which is jointly owned by Saudi Arabia, said it would no longer fly out of Aden and Seiyoun, areas in south Yemen that are under the control of the coalition. "The Saudis want to see us out in the streets protesting against the Houthis.
The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen said one of its helicopters crashed in eastern Yemen on Tuesday, killing 12 Saudi officers in one of the deadliest incidents for the kingdom's troops since the war began more than two years ago. The Black Hawk helicopter crashed in the eastern province of Marib, the coalition said, adding that it is investigating the circumstances. The incident happened as U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to discuss the Yemen war with Saudi leaders. The coalition of mostly Arab Sunni countries has waged a campaign to dislodge Yemeni Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who seized Yemen's capital and some other areas in 2014 and forced the internationally recognized government to flee the country. The U war has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 civilians and led to the displacement of some 3 million Yemenis.