The Latest: UN conference on Yemen pledged $2.6 billion

The Latest on the pledging conference on Yemen (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonion Guterres says pledges of donations for humanitarian work in Yemen have reached $2.6 billion, led by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. That is a 30 percent increase on the amount pledged at a similar donors conference last year.

War-battered Yemen is facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with some 24 million people, or four-fifths of the country's total population, requiring aid and protection. The U.N. is holding a donors conference in Geneva on Tuesday, seeking $4 billion from its members for its work in Yemen.

U.N. officials say they are running out of money in a country also facing a devastated health care system, a lack of jobs, continued fighting and fallout from the world's worst cholera epidemic in 2017.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also active participants in the conflict. They lead a Western-backed coalition that supports the internationally recognized Yemeni government against Iran-aligned rebels known as Houthis who control the major population centers in Yemen.

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11:10 a.m.

The United Nations has opened a third pledging conference in hopes of drumming up some $4 billion this year for Yemen, a war-battered country facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Host U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lamented "an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe" where some 24 million people, or four-fifths of Yemen's total population, require aid and protection.

"Twenty million people cannot reliably feed themselves or their families," he said in Geneva, where the meeting is taking place. "Almost 10 million are just one step away from famine."

U.N. officials say they are running out of money in a country also facing a devastated health care system, a lack of jobs, continued fighting and fallout from the world's worst cholera epidemic in 2017.