United Nations, March 2 : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the outcome of a high-level pledging conference for Yemen was disappointing.
In a statement on Monday night, the UN chief said that the pledges announced a total of about $1.7 billion, which was less than last year's pledges and also $1 billion less than what was pledged at the conference in 2019, Xinhua news agency reported.
The exact amount of total pledges made at the conference on Monday was $1.67 billion.
Saudi Arabia, which is leading a military coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, made the largest donation of $430 million, followed by Germany ($245 million), the United Arab Emirates ($230 million), and the US ($191 million).
Other big donors included the UK with $123 million and the European Commission with $116 million.
"Millions of Yemeni children, women and men desperately need aid to live. Cutting aid is a death sentence," he said.
"The best that can be said about today is that it represents a down payment. I thank those who did pledge generously, and I ask others to consider again what they can do to help stave off the worst famine the world has seen in decades." At the pledging conference, Guterres asked for $3.85 billion for humanitarian operations in Yemen for 2021.
Earlier in the day, World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley had said that $1.9 billion was needed to prevent famine in Yemen and more money is needed for other forms of aid.
The UN will continue to stand in solidarity with the starving people of Yemen, Guterres added in the statement.
Mark Lowcock, the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, who co-hosted Monday's pledging conference, warned that there will be a bigger famine in Yemen unless more funds are secured.
"This does not solve the problem. We are disappointed at the outcome. It's going to be impossible with such limited resources to prevent a large-scale famine," he told a virtual press briefing after the pledging conference.
"So we're going to have to come back to people and ask them for a stronger response, before too long." Another pledging conference for Yemen may have to be convened in a few months to raise more money, he said.
Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.
Due to the ongoing war, the country currently faces the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with more than 24 million people, some 80 per cent of the population, in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children.
Nearly 2.3 million children under the age of five in Yemen are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021, according to a Unicef analysis released in February.
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