Sunday, June 3, 2012

UAE donates $136 mn urgent food aid to Yemen

June 3, 2012
DUBAI — The UAE on Sunday announced food aid worth 500 million dirhams ($136 million) for Yemen where aid groups say around 44 percent of the population do not have enough to eat, state news agency WAM reported.
President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan "has approved allocating 500 million dirhams to buy food and distribute it urgently to the brotherly Yemeni people," WAM said.
The move is to "alleviate the suffering and ensure the availability of basic needs" to enable Yemenis to achieve "better security, stability and prosperity," said the statement.
The food items include "rice, sugar, cooking oil, baby milk, canned food and other basic items of daily use," it said.
Last month, seven aid groups warned diplomats that Yemen was on the brink of a "catastrophic food crisis."
At least 10 million people, some 44 percent of the population, do not get "enough food to eat", they said, adding that one in three children was "severely malnourished."
On May 21, the European Union unblocked an extra five million euros ($6.2 million) for Yemen to help fight mounting malnutrition in what it said was a "desperate" food crisis affecting almost half of the population.
The Commission has already mobilised 20 million euros ($24.9 million) in humanitarian aid for Yemen this year, directed at increasing and improving access to clean water, supporting feeding programmes, developing cash-for-work schemes and providing cash grants for 200,000 people.
Deadly anti-regime protests swept Yemen last year, finally forcing president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in February after 33 years in power.
The political crisis has left the country's economy in tatters and aggravated the dire security situation, with Al-Qaeda militants launching a wave of attacks in the mostly lawless south since Saleh's departure.
Yemen is the poorest country in the Arabian peninsula, with more than 40 percent of people living below the poverty line.

Troops, insurgents battle in centre of southern Yemen city

ADEN | Sun Jun 3, 2012
 (Reuters) - Yemeni troops battled insurgents in the central streets of the southern provincial capital Zinjibar on Sunday, killing six and losing two of their own men, as part of a U.S.-supported drive to recapture territory held by the al Qaeda-linked fighters.
Officials and residents also said troops killed five Islamist fighters in clashes near the western edge of Jaar, another insurgent-controlled town in Abyan province about 30 km (20 miles) from Zinjibar.
The army launched the offensive last month aimed at retaking southern towns seized by Islamists during an uprising against Yemen's long-time leader Ali Abdullah Saleh that saw the military split into warring factions last year.
The United States, which helped engineer Saleh's replacement by his deputy in February, is backing the offensive and has stepped up its campaign of drone strike assassinations of alleged al Qaeda members it says plot attacks from Yemen.
It has also sent dozens of military trainers and stepped up aid to a country it sees as being in the frontline of its war on anti-American Islamist militants.
The loss of Zinjibar would be a strategic blow to the insurgents and bolster the morale of the army, which managed to seize parts of the city outskirts last week.
In Sunday's fighting, troops killed six insurgents and wounded several others in the centre of Zinjibar after the militants attacked a position the army set up after moving into the town, a military official said. Two soldiers were killed.
Local officials and residents said troops killed five Islamist fighters near the western edge of Jaar, also held by a group calling itself Ansar al-Sharia.
Both towns fell under the control of the group last year, when some of Saleh's forces in the region were directed against mass protests calling for an end to his 33-year rule.
Ansar al-Sharia has an undefined relationship with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has plotted abortive attacks abroad from Yemen, including one that U.S. officials said targeted an airliner before it was thwarted in April.
Both have claimed responsibility for attacks on Yemeni military targets, including a suicide bombing last month that killed around 100 soldiers in the capital Sanaa.
The United States wants President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to reunify a military that split between Saleh's foes and allies, including his son and nephew, and focus it against AQAP.
Separately, the deputy governor and local commander of Central Security, which has a counter-terrorism brief, survived an assassination attempt by gunmen who attacked their car in the southern Dhaleh province, officials said.