By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Canada (AA) – Canada announced Friday it will give a much needed CAN$12.1 million to help starving victims in Yemen.
The money brings to CAN$65 million in total aid provided by Canada since a Saudi-led coalition, backed by the United States, began bombing Yemen in March 2015.
The UN said earlier this week that malnutrition and disease are “running rampant” in Yemen and millions of children are dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.
Of the additional $12.1 million from Canada, $6.5 million is slated for the World Food Program to provide food for children under 5 years of age and pregnant and nursing mothers.
“Sadly, the conflict continues in Yemen and its people – particularly women and children – continue to suffer greatly,” Canadian International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said Friday in making the announcement of additional funds.
The UN said the war has killed more than 10,000 civilians and millions are on the brink of starvation.
“Since the escalation of violence in March 2015, when conflict broke out between forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement, Yemen, already the poorest [country] in the region, has been left on the verge of a humanitarian collapse,” the UN said on its website. “This dire situation in Yemen has perhaps had the worst impact on the three million children born in the country since the conflict erupted.”
The UN estimated that 30 percent of the children were premature, 30 percent had low birth weight and 25,000 died at birth or within one month.
Canada said the balance of the aid would be distributed to various UN agencies and the Red Cross.
“Canada remains committed to providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to support our partners to help the Yemeni people,” Bibeau said.
Yemen has been wracked by chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa, forcing the Saudi-backed government to set up an interim capital in the port city of Aden.
A year later, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies -- who accuse the Houthis of serving as an Iranian proxy -- launched a massive military campaign aimed at rolling back territorial gains by the Houthis.