The UK has promised to deliver desperately needed food and fuel supplies for the millions of people in rebel-held Yemen who are living on the brink of famine.
An extra £50m will help stave off the “human tragedy” of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis for one more month, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said on Monday.
Ms Mordaunt made the announcement during a visit to Djibouti, the tiny African country across the Gulf of Aden where thousands of Yemeni refugees have fled - and from where UK aid makes its way to rebel-held parts of the country.
“Every day, parents are carrying their malnourished children to hospital because they haven’t eaten in days, and families are watching as loved ones die needlessly from treatable illnesses because they do not have access to medical care,” Ms Mordaunt said in a statement.
“UK aid will save lives with new food and fuel; fuel that will produce food, pump clean water to help stop the spread of cholera, and power hospital generators.”
The International Development Secretary also called for an “immediate opening up of commercial and humanitarian access into Yemen” during meetings in Riyadh with exiled Yemeni officials and the Saudi-led coalition fighting on their behalf in the brutal civil war.
More than 20 million Yemenis – two-thirds of the population – have become reliant on humanitarian help since the civil war erupted in March 2015.
Saudi Arabia and its regional partners have mounted an extensive bombing campaign on Yemen’s Shia Houthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa, at the request of the exiled, internationally recognised Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.
More than 10,000 people have died in the conflict to date as a result of violence, the world’s largest cholera epidemic, starvation and other diseases. Aid agencies warn the true statistics are likely to be much higher.