Middle East

A look at the conflict in Yemen as donors pledge $1B in aid

For more than two years, Yemen has been in the grip of a conflict between a Saudi-led military coalition and Shiite rebels that has driven the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of famine.

Yemen's conflict has killed more than 10,000 civilians and wounded tens of thousands more, according to the United Nations. Doctors Without Borders, known by the French acronym MSF, says it has treated 66,000 people.

On Tuesday, a U.N. conference drummed up more than $1 billion in pledged aid for the war-torn country on the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. Here is a look at the crisis and the pledged response.

'WORLD'S LARGEST HUNGER CRISIS'

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says around 17 million people in Yemen are food insecure, "making this the world's largest hunger crisis." The United Nations says some 18.8 million people — more than half of Yemen's total population of 27 million — need humanitarian or protection assistance. Nearly 14 million lack access to drinking water.

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CHILDREN SUFFERING

Nearly 2.2 million children are malnourished, including half a million who are severely malnourished and at imminent risk of death if they do not receive care, according to the U.N. children's agency and the World Food Program. Of the 12 million children in the country, 80 percent suffer daily from acute humanitarian needs.

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ATTACKS ON HEALTH FACILITIES

The World Health Organization says there have been some 325 attacks on health facilities, schools, markets, roads, and other infrastructure since the war escalated two years ago. Fewer than 45 percent of health facilities are now fully functioning, and the flow of "essential medicines" has fallen by nearly 70 percent, it said.

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DISPLACEMENT

Since 2015, about 3.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes, though nearly 1.3 million have returned to their home regions, according to the U.N.'s International Organization for Migration. Yemen's conflict has been overshadowed by the war in Syria, which has generated a far larger refugee crisis.

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THE INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE

Guterres said donors meeting in Geneva on Tuesday pledged $1.1 billion in aid to Yemen, a little more than half the $2.1 billion sought in this year's U.N. appeal. U.N. officials were poring over the pledges to determine how much was really new money.

The United States, which supports the Saudi-led coalition, said it was committing nearly $94 million in additional humanitarian assistance, bringing its total to $526 million since the 2016 fiscal year.

Humanitarian groups say any additional international aid is only a stopgap and have called for a political solution to end the war. The last round of peace talks between the warring parties broke down in August, after which the coalition shut down Sanaa airport, heavily limiting access to the rebel-held capital and much of northern Yemen.