On Sunday (June 2), the United Arab Emirates announced 500 million dirhams ($136 million) in food aid for Yemenis. The decision came after several nongovernmental organizations warned last month that the food crisis in Yemen is reaching “catastrophic proportions.”
President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s foundation will buy the food items from Yemen’s local markets, UAE news agency WAM reports. This includes rice, sugar, cooking oil, baby milk and canned food. The president plans on establishing distribution outlets within Yemen to get food aid immediately to those in need.
Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa expressed his gratitude over the announced assistance, according to WAM. He said Yemenis are “grateful” to UAE’s move to reach out to them in these “times of difficulties.” The country is still reeling from last year’s political crisis that forced Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down from power after 33 years.
UAE’s announcement follows the May 23 Friends of Yemen meeting, where both Arab and Western donors pledged up to $4 billion for development and humanitarian projects in the country. The United Kingdom, ahead of the meeting, also pledged 28 million pounds ($34.6 million) to help feed thousands of Yemenis.
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