Aid workers face a “race against time” to prevent catastrophe in Yemen, a country ravaged by war and a fast-spreading novel coronavirus outbreak, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned Tuesday.
“We are in a race against time. Tackling COVID-19 on top of the existing humanitarian emergency requires urgent action,” Guterres said at a virtual donor conference hosted by Saudi Arabia.
The coronavirus came relatively late to Yemen, but even with advance notice it has still been ravaged by the disease.
With the war-torn country divided between three competing authorities, its economy and health systems shattered, and malnutrition and disease already rife, the outbreak faced few obstacles. Yemen’s most strategically important city, Aden, has the highest covid-19 mortality rate among confirmed cases in the world at 70%, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said May 28.
Saudi Arabia seeks to raise $2.3 billion from an emergency donor conference that was held on Tuesday to support war-battered Yemen as it faces a coronavirus catastrophe.
The virtual conference, which Riyadh co-hosted with the United Nations, comes as aid groups warn that the fast-spreading virus could wreak havoc after years of war and amid crippling funding shortages.
“A total of $2.3 billion is being sought to cover emergency requirements in Yemen across multiple humanitarian sectors, including medical, food and shelter assistance,” a Saudi government statement said.
Britain announced on Tuesday 160 million pounds ($201 million) in humanitarian aid to Yemen, James Cleverly, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East and North Africa, told the conference to help the war-torn country.
“This targeted UK aid package will mean the difference between life and death for thousands of Yemenis who now also face the threat of coronavirus,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.
Britain’s International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the funds aimed to provide support to at least 300,000 vulnerable people each month.
Germany announces $140 million
Germany announced on Tuesday 125 million euros ($139.8 million)in humanitarian assistance to Yemen, Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, told a pledging conference for the war-ravaged country.