Saudi Arabia pledges $368 million in aid for Yemen

Saudi Arabia pledges $368 million in aid for Yemen
People surround the bodies of Shiite Huthi rebels, killed during clashes with Popular Resistance Committees loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, on a street in the city of Taez on April 17, 2015.

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia, which is leading a three-week-old air war against rebel forces in Yemen, on Saturday announced US$274 million (S$368 million) in humanitarian aid for the chaos-wracked country.

The pledge, which the official SPA news agency said was ordered by King Salman, followed a UN appeal Friday for $274 million (253 million euros) to provide emergency assistance to the millions affected by the conflict.

The kingdom "stands with its Yemeni brothers" and hopes for "the restoration of security and stability," it said, quoting an official statement.

Yemen has sunk further into chaos since the start of the air raids by a Saudi-led regional coalition on Iran-backed rebels whose sweeping advance forced President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee abroad.

The United Nations says hundreds of people have died and thousands of families have fled their homes in the war.

Aid agencies have warned of an unfolding humanitarian disaster.

"Ordinary families are struggling to access health care, water, food and fuel -- basic requirements for their survival," UN Humanitarian Coordinator Johannes Van Der Klaauw said Friday as he appealed for funds.

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