Scotland politics

Scottish government donates £250,000 to Yemen appeal

children in yemen Image copyright EPA
Image caption More than two million children in Yemen are in need of urgent help, with 460,000 suffering from malnutrition

The Scottish government has donated £250,000 of humanitarian aid to an appeal aimed at easing hunger in Yemen.

Years of turmoil in Yemen has left more than two million children in urgent need of food, water and medicine.

Much of the country's infrastructure has been destroyed by conflict between a Saudi Arabia-led coalition and the Iran-aligned Houthi group.

The Scottish government said it had donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee's Yemen Crisis Appeal.

The committee brings together 13 leading UK aid agencies to raise money at times of humanitarian crisis in poorer countries.

International Development Minister Alasdair Allan said the Scottish government would "do all we can to help Yemen's most vulnerable people in their hour of need".

And he said he hoped the £250,000 of funding would reach the worst affected areas of the country.

Sally Foster Fulton, spokeswoman for the Disasters Emergency Committee in Scotland, said the world must not be allowed to turn its back on the humanitarian disaster.

She told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Two thirds of the population, 18.8m people, are in need of humanitarian aid, sanitation health care, emergency food.

"Half the country are suffering from hunger - seven million severely hungry.

"Children under five, breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women are badly affected. So it is a disaster.

"But what we are doing is bringing together 13 of the leading UK charities to say we can make a huge difference to millions of people.

"And with the help of the generosity of the UK people and government, and the Scottish government, we can and are making a huge difference."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East

More than 10,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since fighting in the Arab country escalated in March of last year.

The conflict has exacerbated the widespread poverty, food shortages and poor health services which have affected Yemen for many years.

In a report published on Monday, the Unicef children's charity said hunger among Yemen's children has reached an "all time high", with nearly 2.2 million in need of urgent care, and at least 462,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

It also said at least one child dies every ten minutes in Yemen - which is the poorest country in the Middle East - because of malnutrition, diarrhoea, and respiratory tract infections.