Saudi Arabia will be sending $500 million in aid next week to the UN to help fund its response to the on-going humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
UN aid chief Mark Lowcock confirmed in a briefing yesterday to the UN Security Council Saudi’s intention to transfer the funds to his office on 25 September. This was based on a pledge made by the kingdom for the Humanitarian Response Plan in February.
Have just received confirmation from KSA that they plan to transfer $500 million to my office on 25 Sept, for the pledge they made for the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan in February. I greatly welcome this & look forward to signing the agreements & the transfer of funds.
— Mark Lowcock (@UNReliefChief) September 16, 2019
Lowcock also stated that the UAE had recently allocated £200 million towards the relief effort, half of which is intended for the UN’s World Food Programme.
Whilst welcoming these developments, he also warned that “Unless there is more money in the bank, we will not be in a position to re-open vaccination programmes, nutrition centres, cholera prevention work or other activities that we have had in recent weeks to close down.”
However, the Saudi aid relief is dwarfed in comparison to the amount they have spent on the Yemen war, which has largely contributed to the humanitarian crisis with the use of Western arms. The defence budget for this year alone is $295 billion.
Last year the Saudis spent $67.7 billion on military equipment, making them the third highest spender on military equipment in 2018. Figures published by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) reveal that the UK licensed $7.6 billion worth of arms to Saudi-led forces in the first four years of bombing in Yemen.
According to UN officials, more than 90,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 per cent of the country’s population has been displaced, making it the world’s “worst humanitarian crisis”.