US announces extra $165 mln in Yemen aid

Dubai (AFP) –


The United States on Monday announced an additional $165 million in humanitarian aid for Yemen, as the war-ravaged country continues to face what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Yemen's conflict flared in 2014 when Iran-backed Huthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa, prompting a Saudi-led intervention to prop up the internationally recognised government the following year.

The fighting has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions and left some 80 percent of Yemenis dependent on aid.

"The US is announcing today $165 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Yemen," said Tim Lenderking, US special envoy for Yemen.

"We believe that taking immediate steps to mitigate the humanitarian crisis and save lives can contribute to progress on the peace process," he told a virtual press conference.

Five million Yemenis are on the brink of famine, and some 50,000 people live in famine-like conditions -- the first time such critical levels of hunger have been reached in two years, according to the UN World Food Programme.

The UN has warned that famine could become part of Yemen's "reality" this year.

"The US can't do this alone," Lenderking said. "Other donors, particularly regional donors, must step up their contributions."

A donor conference earlier this year raised $1.7 billion in aid for the country -- just half its target.