Global donors pledge $6.4bn to stabilise fragile Yemen

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More than 40% of Yemen's population are malnourished

Yemen is to receive $6.4bn (£4bn) in global aid to help stabilise the impoverished nation as it battles food shortages and post-Arab Spring unrest, the World Bank has said.

The country faces a humanitarian crisis after months of political conflict following the overthrow of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Saudi Arabia will give more than half of the aid, and the UK promised $311m.

Yemen said it needed $11.9bn to help fight the food and security crisis.

"We require assistance in all forms, registry support in cash and also contributions to the development programme," Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi told Reuters news agency.

Some 10 million Yemenis - 44% of the population - are now undernourished, with five million requiring emergency aid, according to latest figures.

Urgent needs

Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said more money would be needed for the kingdom's southern neighbour.

"Yemen is facing many economic problems," he told Western delegates at the donor conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Most of the British funds will be used to alleviate chronic malnutrition, improve rural infrastructure and expand social protection.

"We've put together a package of support which will underpin the Yemeni economy, direct funds into infrastructure, and will urgently address Yemenis' basic needs such as health care, education and access to sanitation," the Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan, said.

Already one the poorest countries in the world, its plight was worsened by months of Arab Spring protests, which eventually forced President Saleh to step down in November last year.

Power was handed to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is expected to serve a two-year term to pave the way for new parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014.

Islamist militants have taken advantage of the upheaval to seize parts of the southern province of Abyan, now considered a stronghold of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP).

In addition, the government is grappling with Shia Houthi rebels in the north of the country.

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