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UN appeals for $274m to aid war-torn Yemenis

Thousands of people in Yemen have been forced to flee their homes [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 17 April, 2015

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Humanitarian chief says the sum is needed to "meet the life-saving and protection needs of 7.5 million affected" as fighting rages across the country.

The UN has said it needs $274m to provide emergency assistance to 7.5 million people affected by the Yemen war, as fighting rages on in parts of the country.

Johannes Van Der Klaauw, the UN humanitarian coordinator, said fighting and air raids by a Saudi-led coalition had forced thousands of families to flee their homes.

The appeal addressed to the international community by the UN and its humanitarian partners aims "to meet the life-saving and protection needs of 7.5 million affected".

The humanitarian call comes as al-Qaeda militants in southeast Yemen overran a key camp in Hadramawt provincial capital Mukalla, consolidating their grip on the city.

Until Friday, the camp in eastern Mukalla had remained loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi and was the only military site not taken over by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Elsewhere in the region, at least 20 rebels were killed, and two tanks and four armoured vehicles destroyed, in overnight air raids on a convoy headed out of Yemen's largest air base, al-Anad.

In Taez, in the central highlands north of Aden, at least 16 people were killed as soldiers that have remained loyal to the exiled president, Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, put up fierce resistance to an attack on their base by the Houthi rebels and renegade troops.

Three civilians were among the dead when a stray shell hit their home, a military source and residents said.

Meanwhile, two suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed overnight in a drone strike believed to have been carried out by the US, a tribal source said on Friday.

The late night strike targeted a vehicle in Habban, southeast of Ataq, the main town in southern Shabwa province.

It "killed the two occupants, two members of al-Qaeda," said the source, identifying one of the victims as Khaled Atef, a cousin of the province's al-Qaeda chief.

Ceasefire calls

UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have called for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen, with Iran urging peace talks.

Zarif made the appeal during a telephone call with the UN chief, who is searching for a new envoy following the resignation of Moroccan-born diplomat, Jamal Benomar who lost the confidence of Saudi Arabia and its allies.

"Mr Zarif referred to the Iranian four-point plan to end the crisis in Yemen, stressing the importance of an immediate dialogue between the Yemenis and said Iran was ready to help resolve this crisis," IRNA said.

"Ban Ki-moon acknowledged the efforts of the Islamic Republic to peacefully resolve the crisis in Yemen and focused on the immediate provision of medicines and food to those affected," it said.

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