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MENAFN - Arab News - 21/03/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will hold a special emergency meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss the humanitarian situation in Yemen, where thousands of people, especially women and children, are either starving or facing acute malnutrition.

A specialized United Nations panel that will attend the meeting will present a detailed plan to address the challenges faced by the starving masses, rescue children from the death trap, and extend assistance to the displaced population.

"The meeting will be attended by top Saudi and GCC officials including representatives of the UN, European Union, United States and the United Kingdom as well as several other countries and organizations working in the humanitarian field," said Ahmed Al-Kabi, a spokesman of the GCC General Secretariat, here Tuesday. The number of people that have been affected by ongoing violence " especially in southern Yemen " and are dependent on assistance continues to increase, he said, quoting a United Nations humanitarian wing report.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, thousands of Yemenis are facing a humanitarian crisis due to civil unrest, soaring food and fuel prices, and a breakdown of social services. The meeting at the GCC will also make an assessment of the humanitarian situation in Yemen, which resulted from the crisis experienced by that country during the last several months. The rate of malnutrition is also worrying despite support from the international community, including the Kingdom, Al-Kabi added.

"Currently, the number of malnourished children stands at 750,000, with half a million at risk of dying this year if adequate support is not provided," he observed. In addition, the education of thousands of children across the country continues to be disrupted by the occupation of schools by armed forces and by the number of internally displaced persons, he added. The Gulf states, he said, are on the forefront in terms of extending assistance to Yemen to solve the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Saudi Arabia, he said, is working to resume the implementation of Saudi-funded development projects in Yemen soon. This was also discussed in a meeting recently attended by Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and the Yemeni finance minister, Sakhr Al-Wajih. They also discussed the possibility of supporting the Yemeni economy immediately.


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