After devastating it, Saudi Arabia pledges $1.5 billion in aid to war-torn Yemen

After devastating it, Saudi Arabia pledges $1.5 billion in aid to war-torn Yemen
The kingdom has pledged billions in aid to a country it has spent billions more waging war on.
2 min read
23 January, 2018
Saudi Arabia on Monday pledged $1.5 billion in new aid for Yemen following mounting international criticism of the Saudi-led war coalition’s toll on Yemen’s civilian population.

The UN has called Yemen the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis”.

The kingdom announced it will increase the capacities at Yemen’s ports to allow for additional aid and cargo shipments - the ports are a crucial lifeline for imports.

Up to seventeen “safe-passage corridors” for humanitarian groups will also be set up. The Monday announcement also includes up to $2 billion in fuel for the transportation of aid.

Earlier today the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said on its Arabic Twitter page that it “welcomed” the Saudi aid announcement. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is today hosting a Quartet meeting in London between the UK, the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to discuss Yemen’s civil war.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of nine Arab states against Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who overran Yemen’s capital and forced the internationally recognised government into exile.

In September the UN’s WFP Executive Director David Beasley had strong words for the kingdom: “Saudi Arabia should fund 100 percent (of the needs) of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen”, he said. “Either stop the war or fund the crisis. Option three is, do both of them.”

At least 10,000 civilians to date have been killed in the war and some three-quarters of Yemen’s population – 22 million – need humanitarian assistance.

In December the number of suspected cholera cases reached 1 million, in what is now the world’s biggest cholera outbreak in recent history.

The kingdom has allocated nearly $57 billion for military spending in 2018, though how much is spent on Yemen has not been disclosed.