UN hosts aid-pledging conference for beleaguered Yemen

The U.N. secretary-general is appealing on dozens of countries to boost aid funds for war-torn Yemen, which is considered one of the world's greatest humanitarian crises and faces "the world's largest hunger crisis".

Stephen O'Brien, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, spoke in an interview a day ahead of a major conference where the UN is seeking $2.1 billion for Yemen this year.

The source remind that Yemen has become one of the world's largest humanitarian crises after 2 years of conflict with 18.8 million people, nearly 70% of the Yemeni population in need of assistance.

Addressing a conference in Geneva today to pledge aid for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen he said "the starvation can be prevented if they act quickly and commit to funding crucial life-saving assistance". The injured and patients suffering from chronic diseases are dying avoidable deaths, while the most vulnerable groups-children, pregnant women, and the elderly-are at heightened risk of disease.

"In simple terms, the situation in Yemen is catastrophic", Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF's director for the Mideast and North Africa, told The Associated Press.

"The global community [has to] get its act together" says Robert Mardini.

This means that about only 30% of the supplies Yemen needs are getting into the country at all.

Kuwait's Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah is seen at the Yemen aid conference in Geneva.

In another development on Tuesday, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), an independent humanitarian organization, warned that the survival of millions of Yemeni civilians is at risk if the Hudaydah lifeline is cut.

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Geneva, April 25, 2017-With medical teams working across Yemen, we at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) witness on a daily basis the reality of the humanitarian crisis facing its people.

"On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every 10 minutes", Guterres said. Yemen's conflict has left 18.8 million people in need of aid, the United Nations says. The Saudis claim that the port serves as an entry point for weapons supplies to Houthis, but aid agencies have voiced skepticism at the claim, given the blockade and the fact that the United Nations inspects each arriving ship. Today, MSF has more than 1,600 worldwide and Yemeni staff working in 12 hospitals and 18 health centers across the country, showing that it is possible to provide direct humanitarian aid in an effective way.

Coming into the conference, Guterres lamented that the appeal had only been about 15 percent funded.

He said the pledges must now be "translated into effective support" for Yemenis.

At the pledging conference aid agencies will warn again that help can not come quickly enough for Yemen's people, especially its children.

A Saudi-led military coalition is preparing an assault on Hodeidah, which lies on the Red Sea and is the point of entry for almost 80 percent of Yemen's food imports.

Humanitarian aid needs to be scaled up-urgently. "What everyone tells you is that life has become unbearable", said Robert Mardini, director of Middle East Operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"A clear humanitarian voice saying "enough is enough". That is a damning indictment of world leaders but also a real opportunity - they have the power to bring the suffering to an end. "We need an immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to negotiations and peace", he said.

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