Saudi pact to grant Yemen $1.5 billion

Saudi pact to grant Yemen $1.5 billion

Saudi pact to grant Yemen $1.5 billion

A Saudi-led military coalition announced $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid for Yemen on Jan. 22, after the United Nations made what it called a record appeal for assistance for the war-ravaged country.

The coalition also said it would also “increase the capacities of Yemeni ports to receive humanitarian” imports, as it faces mounting criticism for imposing a crippling blockade on the country.

The latest aid package, which follows last week’s $2 billion Saudi cash injection to Yemen’s central bank, comes amid an ever-broadening crisis in the country, where the conflict, cholera and looming famine have killed thousands and put millions of lives at risk.

“The coalition will coordinate... $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid funding for distribution across U.N. agencies and international relief organizations,” the coalition announced in a statement. The new aid program seeks to open land, sea and air lanes to Yemen to boost monthly imports to 1.4 million metric tons from 1.1 million last year, it said.

The coalition pledged up to $40 million for the expansion of ports to accommodate additional humanitarian shipments, adding that it would set up an air corridor between Riyadh and the central Yemeni province of Marib to run multiple aid flights of C130 cargo planes.

The coalition said it would set up 17 additional “safe-passage corridors” to facilitate overland transport for aid organizations operating in the remote interiors of Yemen.

“The coalition is placing its military resources at the disposal of these broad-ranging humanitarian operations,” said coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki. “We are backing a professionally planned and detailed humanitarian mission with military power and precision to guarantee that the humanitarian aid reaches the people who need it to lift their suffering.”

Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 with the stated aim of rolling back Huthi rebel gains and restoring the country’s “legitimate” government to power.