SANA’A, Yemen. Prior to disbursing US$1.0 billion in humanitarian aid to Yemen next month, Saudi Arabia and the UAE recently arranged the shipment of four 60-tonnes capacity mobile cranes from Dubai to Yemen’s Hodeidah Port to help the World Food Programme (WFP).
The cranes, purchased by the U.S. Agency for International Development and shipped on the WFP-chartered vessel MV Juist from Jebel Ali Port, were urgently needed to boost the capacity of Hodeidah, which handles around 70 percent of Yemen’s imports including critically-needed food and humanitarian supplies.
U.S. Embassy spokesman in Yemen Clayton McCleskey said the additional crane capacity reduces vessel discharge time by 50 percent to allow food and medicine to be distributed faster.
As a result of the protracted war, more than 22 million people in Yemen now need humanitarian assistance, including 11.3 million who are in acute need – an increase of more than one million people since March 2017.
“We are grateful to the U.S. government for funding these cranes, the U.S. and UK governments for continuing to draw attention to how important they are, and to all our partners whose collaboration and support ultimately helped us get them into Yemen,” said WFP executive director David Beasley.
WFP has been feeding nearly seven million people in Yemen since August 2017 and despite the Trump Administration the U.S. has provided nearly US$768 million in humanitarian assistance to help the Yemeni people since October 2016.
The UN under secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said US$930 million from Saudi Arabia and the UAE would be transferred by the end of March in support of a US$2.96 billion Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan; both countries have agreed the funds will only be used for aid purposes.
The two nations will provide an additional US$70 million to support port rehabilitation and infrastructure in Yemen as part of the Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations Plan announced by the Saudi-led coalition in January this year.