UN seeks $4 billion for Yemen

Each year, the world body needs an additional billion dollars, UN Under Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said.

A view of the Secretariat Building, with a flag flying in the foreground, at United Nations headquarters in New York. Picture: United Nations Photo.

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations said Monday it was seeking $4 billion to provide humanitarian aid to some 20 million Yemenis next year - or about 70% of the war-stricken country's population.

Each year, the world body needs an additional billion dollars, UN Under Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said.

A donors' conference backed by Sweden, Switzerland and the UN is set to take place on 26 February in Geneva.

"We didn't have a cessation of hostilities," although the violence appears to have decreased, added Lowcock, who recently travelled to the country, expressing hope for a positive outcome to peace negotiations taking place in Sweden between the parties under UN auspices.

He denounced obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian aid, noting that Yemen also needs help to bring its economy back from the brink.

"Hodeida port is crucial" for humanitarian aid, Lowcock said, referring to the flashpoint city at the heart of negotiations in Sweden.

The Yemeni government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and its military allies, has been battling the Iran-backed Huthi rebels for control of Yemen for nearly four years, spawning what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.