Cholera crisis in Yemen: Saudi Arabia pledges $33.7 mn aid to help WHO combat disease

Jeddah, Aug 6: Saudi Arabia has pledged $33.7 million to help the World Health Organisation eradicate cholera in war-wrecked Yemen, where the disease has killed nearly 2,000 people, the WHO said on Sunday. Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the organisation, confirmed that Saudi Arabia, which leads an Arab coalition battling rebels in Yemen, had signed an agreement committing the funds to help the WHO battle the spread of cholera.
The oil-rich Gulf kingdom, in a statement on Thursday, said the money committed to WHO was part of an overall effort to combat the cholera outbreak in Yemen. Riyadh said it also pledged $33 million to the UN’s children agency, UNICEF, for a project to improve water and sanitation facilities which are “drivers of the epidemic”. The Saudi aid was initially announced in June by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Last week the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, also pledged $10 million to help the WHO stem the spread of cholera in Yemen. The United Arab Emirates is a key member of the Saudi-led coalition that entered Yemen’s conflict in 2015 on the side of the government against Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels. Since then, the war in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation has killed more than 8,000 people, according to WHO figures. (Agencies)