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The New Arab

Italy approves emergency aid package to battle Yemen's malnutrition

The war has pushed the country to the brink of famine [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 September, 2017

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Yemen will receive more than €1 million worth of emergency financial aid to assist in the battle against the country's continued malnutrition, local reports said.
Italy’s foreign minister announced more than €1 million in emergency financial aid will be sent to Yemen to help combat malnutrition among children in the war-torn country, according to local reports.

Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano announced the move on Tuesday after talks with Yemen’s President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mikhlafi on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly in New York, local Yemen Monitor reported.

Italy announced the "emergency financial support worth one million euros, from an Italian programme to combat the malnutrition of children in Yemen,” a statement said, according to the Anadolu news agency.

The minister added that this assistance "is in addition to pledges made during the April donor conference held in Geneva, Switzerland that amounted to €10 million over the years 2017-2018."

The comments came after President Hadi travelled to New York to participate in the UN General Assembly, headed by a delegation comprising the central bank governor and finance and planning ministers, in an economic visit that sought donor assistance and financial and technical support from international financial institutions, including cash grants to replenish foreign reserves.

The economic attaché in the Yemeni embassy in Washington, Abdul Rahman al-Eryani, told The New Arab that Yemen's budget is in a critical situation and needs urgent financial support from donors.

"Yemen needs support to pay salaries of $ 2.6 billion, plus $ 2.95 billion to repay outstanding debts, and $540 million to repay external debt servicing," he said in a telephone interview.

With limited oil and the inability to collect customs and taxes in areas still under the control of Houthi rebels, budgetary assistance from donors was needed, he added.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since the war escalated after a Saudi-led coalition military intervention in Yemen in March 2015. Three million people have since been displaced and the conflict has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

An outbreak of cholera has killed hundreds, and more than half a million cases have been counted. Half the country's health facilities are out of service, including many that were bombed by the coalition.

Meanwhile, government workers, including medics and refuse collectors, have not received their salaries in nearly a year, further hindering efforts to combat the outbreak.

Italy’s FM said Rome “expects the parties, including the legitimate government, to take a responsible and open attitude towards achieving the necessary political concessions."

"The continuation of the armed confrontations will exacerbate the difficult humanitarian situation," he said, reiterating Italy's commitment to work as a member of the Security Council to "support efforts to reach a permanent and comprehensive settlement of the crisis in Yemen."

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