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Geneva donor conference aims to drum up aid for Yemen

Minister Sommaruga at the conference in Geneva on Tuesday, 26 February. © Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

Switzerland has pledged a total of CHF13.5 million ($13.49 million) in humanitarian aid this year for Yemen, whose citizens continue to suffer under fighting and famine.

This content was published on February 26, 2019 - 14:45
SDA-ATS/dos

The contribution was announced by Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga on Tuesday in Geneva, at the opening of a donor event co-hosted by Switzerland and Sweden.

In total, states pledged to donate $2.6 billion, a sizeable amount but far short of the $4.3 billion estimated by the UN to be necessary in 2019.

We don’t have the right to ignore Yemen as it faces up to the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world”, Sommaruga said as she urged countries present “not to forget” the struggling state and to make donations.

A civil war between factions controlled by an exiled government and Houthi rebels has devastated Yemen for four years. Some 10,000 victims are estimated to have lost their lives.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, also present at the Geneva conference, said that almost 25 million Yemenis – some 80% of the total population – are in need of humanitarian aid.

In 2018, humanitarian projects piloted by the UN succeeded in raising CHF2.6 billion, 83% of what was estimated to be necessary.

Along with its humanitarian pledge on Tuesday, which will funnel into projects to provide water, protect civilians, and secure food supplies, Switzerland will also offer CHF1 million to support the efforts of UN special envoy Martin Griffiths, who is working to broker a peace deal.

A recent agreement between both sides of the conflict to withdraw fighters from the crucial port city of Hodeïda was welcomed as a “crucial step” by Sommaruga. Switzerland also remains ready to provide good officesExternal link, she said.

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