RELIGION

Yemen minister says 60 percent of population in dire poverty

Yemen's planning minister says 60 percent of the country's population is in dire poverty more than two years since the Shiite rebels forced the country's internationally recognized government and president out of the capital.

Mohamed El-Saadi says 22 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian relief, a figure that exceeds the U.N.'s recent estimate that 19.8 million in Yemen need assistance.

El-Saadi spoke during a meeting on Wednesday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, attended by the Gulf Cooperation Council and international organizations.

He warned that the "general security, political and humanitarian situation has witnessed an unprecedented decline."

A Saudi-led coalition has been battling Yemen's Houthi rebels March 2015. The war has killed more than 10,000 civilians and pushed a large portion of the population to the brink of famine.