U.N. Geneva conference seeks $2.1B for Yemen humanitarian aid

April 25 (UPI) -- A conference to raise funds for humanitarian relief in Yemen began Tuesday in Geneva with a goal to fill a $2.1 billion United Nations shortfall in aid.

Yemen was already Africa's poorest country before a two-year civil war between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and government troops backed by a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia. The United Nations' World Food Program says that of Yemen's nearly 26 million people, 19 million are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, 7 million require food aid immediately and 2 million children are acutely malnourished.

The situation is nothing short of catastrophic. What everyone tells you is that life has become unbearable," said Robert Mardini, director of Middle East Operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross.UPI