Coalition to give $1.5bn in Yemen aid, expand port capacity


Saudi Gazette report

— A Saudi-led coalition fighting for legitimacy in Yemen on Monday announced the donation of $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid for Yemen.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, adviser at the Royal Court and general supervisor of King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Work (KS Relief), said that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged $1 billion while the remaining member states of the coalition will pay the remaining amount of $500 million.

Addressing a press conference at the end of a meeting of foreign ministers of the coalition countries in Riyadh, he said that this amount makes up more than 50 percent of the Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen announced by the United Nations for the year 2018.

Dr. Al-Rabeeah said 88 percent of the Saudi-UAE donation will be spent to finance various humanitarian sectors.

He said that over the last three years, the Kingdom has supported Yemen and its people with an amount of over $10.4 billion in terms of humanitarian and development assistance as well as support to Yemeni refugees, Central Bank of Yemen and bilateral assistance. “KS Relief has implemented as many as 175 projects through its 77 international, regional and local partners all over Yemen during the period,” he added.

Addressing the press meet, Col. Turki Al-Malki, spokesman of the coalition, said all the entry points to Yemen have benefited with a remarkable improvement in import environment thanks to the Kingdom’s depositing of $2 billion in the Yemeni central bank.

He called on UN to intensify the inspection and investigation mechanism and assign its center in Djibouti to prevent the Iranian backed Houthi militias from continuing smuggling of weapons and military hardware into Yemen.

The coalition said that it would also operate an air bridge to Marib, set up 17 overland corridors for aid deliveries and lead the expansion of additional Yemeni ports to receive humanitarian and essential cargo.

The expansion of ports will be supported with up to $40 million from the Saudi-led coalition. The coalition said that it would also allocate up to $30 million to cover transportation costs of non-humanitarian shipments intended for the port of Hodeida to “their intended destination in Yemen”.

Additionally, the Kingdom said it will make a donation of up to $2 billion in fuel for the transportation of humanitarian aid.

“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 ameliorate their suffering,” said coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki.

“The coalition is placing its military resources at the disposal of these broad-ranging humanitarian operations,” said Al-Maliki.

The latest aid package follows last week’s $2 billion Saudi cash injection to Yemen’s central bank.

“The coalition will coordinate... $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid funding for distribution across UN agencies and international relief organizations,” the coalition announced in the 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, the statement said.

An accompanying graphic suggested that overland delivery routes would extend into northern territory held by the armed Houthi movement. — With agencies