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With 10 million Yemeni's 'one step away from famine', donors pledge $2.6 billion

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New York, Feb 27, IRNA -- Donors have pledged $2.6 billion to provide urgently needed support to millions of Yemeni civilians facing an "overwhelming humanitarian calamity" after nearly four years of brutal war, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a pledging conference in Geneva, Mr. Guterres welcomed the generosity of Member States, who pledged 30 percent more than during last year's conference to raise life-saving funds for Yemen, UN website reprted.

The UN chief also announced that the World Food Programme (WFP) has been able to reach the so-called Red Sea Mills food stores in the key port city of Hudaydah, where more than 50,000 tons of wheat--enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month--has been trapped for months, due to fighting between coalition forces backing the Government, and Houthi rebels who control the city and port.

The UN emergency food assistance agency confirmed the information, but has yet to announce if its stocks are fit to eat, after months without access.

"The donors have pledged 30 percent more than last year to help address the dramatic humanitarian situation in Yemen," the UN Secretary-General said. "From $2 billion in the pledging conference of 2018, to U$2.6 billion in the pledging conference of 2019.

Nearly four years since fighting escalated in Yemen, civilians continue to suffer most.

"Tens of thousands of people have been killed or injured since the conflict escalated, many of them civilians," Mr. Guterres said. "Many more have died from preventable diseases, exacerbated by malnutrition." He noted that around 20 million are unable to "reliably feed themselves or their families", adding that "almost 10 million are just one step away from famine."

Highlighting the impact on the youngest Yemenis, the UN chief noted that "children did not start the war in Yemen, but they are paying the highest price. Some 360,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, fighting for their lives every day. One credible report puts the number of children under-five who have died of starvation, at more than 80,000."

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