Saudi Arabia will for the first time be the co-host for the UN humanitarian fundraising summit for Yemen.
The kingdom confirmed it will host a virtual donors’ conference today together with the United Nations, state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Firday.
The UN aims to raise $2.4 billion during the virtual gathering, in one of the biggest aid operations so far.
— KSrelief (@KSRelief_EN) May 29, 2020
“Before COVID, two million children were out of school. Now because of the pandemic, schools have been closed around the country, leaving an additional five million children out of school. And we know that in countries blighted by poverty and conflict, the longer children are out of school, the less likely they are to return. Therefore, we must get the fund we need for Yemen,” said Henrietta Fore, the agency’s Executive Director, in a statement.
Meanwhile, questions have been raised over Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the donor conference, given that it has been accused of war crimes in Yemen.
Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as millions remain at risk of starvation.
Last week, the World Food Program (WFP) announced a total of $200 million a month was needed to fund its operations in Yemen.