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Saudi king doubles Yemen aid pledge to $540 mn

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Displaced Yemeni children who fled the fighting, carry boxes of humanitarian aid
Displaced Yemeni children who fled the fighting, carry boxes of humanitarian aid
Riyadh (AFP) - King Salman doubled Saudi Arabia’s aid commitment to Yemen to $540 million on Wednesday, the first day of a humanitarian pause in a bombing campaign it has led against its neighbor.
"We announce that we are setting aside one billion riyals ($266 million) for aid and humanitarian operations... in addition to more than one billion riyals ($274 million) we had already pledged," the official Saudi Press Agency quoted the king as saying.
On April 18, the kingdom pledged the entire $274 million sought by the United Nations in an appeal for emergency assistance to help victims of the war in Yemen.
The UN said that the money would "meet the life-saving and protection needs of 7.5 million people affected" by a deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
"Projects and partners have been identified for implementation of the grant but money has not been disbursed yet, so it is still a pledge," Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN humanitarian agency OCHA, said on Tuesday.
Before the five-day ceasefire took effect at 2000 GMT on Tuesday, a Saudi-led coalition had carried out nearly seven weeks of air strikes against Iran-backed rebels and their allies who control much of the country.