A U.N. fundraising reception was hosted to collect donations for Yemen last Tuesday. The donors conference reaped about $2.6 billion of the $4 billion intended threshold. The U.N. authorities have estimated that simple restoration of humanitarian conditions in Yemen would require at least $4 billion. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were active stakeholders in the donor conference. Both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi channelled $300 million each, a rise of 30% from last year’s contributions.
Both countries at the same time participate in the prolongation of the conflict, the so-called worst humanitarian crisis. Since the early 2015, Saudi Arabia and UAE intervened by the side of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to combat the expansion of Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the country. The Houthi movement successfully captured Yemen’s major cities, including capital Sanaa, and the renowned Hodeidah Port, located roughly 300 kilometres west of the capital. The Hodeidah port is renowned from the ceasefire signed by the belligerent parties in December 2018. So far, the ceasefire’s provisions are partially respected by the contenders even though periodic violations take place.
Regarding the donors conference, the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised both Abu Dhabi and Riyadh for their efforts to drag Yemen out of the self-disintegration path. The Secretary-General’s accommodating behaviour was also criticised by the international press which remains highly reproachful of both governments for their meddling with the Yemeni crisis.
So far, the Yemeni crisis has affected the lives of 24 million people, roughly the 80% of the remaining population within the country. Of them approximately 20 million people have interrupted access to food, and more than 10 million already suffer from famine conditions. Children are the greatest victims to conflict, with 80.000 of them losing their lives out of starvation and infectious diseases. These numbers according to UNICEF amount to eight child casualties per day. The donors conference undeniably ameliorates humanitarian conditions on the ground, but still it is not enough to facilitate Yemen’s recovery from a self-destructive political turmoil.