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Saudi Arabia to give $10b aid for reconstruction, says Hadi
February 22, 2017
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ADEN: Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi said on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia has earmarked $10 billion in aid for the reconstruction of provinces retaken from Houthi rebels.

Riyadh, which since March 2015 has led a military coalition to support pro-Hadi fighters in Yemen, has made no official announcement on the aid.

Hadi said the kingdom had allocated $10 billion "for the reconstruction of liberated provinces, including $2 billion as a deposit in the central bank to shore up the (Yemeni) riyal", the Saba news agency reported.

The president, speaking in the government's temporary southern capital of Aden, called on his government to focus on power, water, roads, health and education in retaken areas.

Pro-government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition took back five southern provinces from the rebels in 2015.

Hadi in past has praised the role played by the Arab Coalition and its efforts to achieve peace in the country as a desirable end.

VACCINATION DRIVE

Yemen has launched a major polio vaccination campaign amid fears the disease could reappear in where the health system is on the verge of collapse and aid agencies are warning of famine.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), which is supporting the drive, said some 40,000 health workers aimed to immunise more than 5 million children under the age of five across the country.

"The threat of (polio) virus importation is serious and this campaign aims to curb any possible return of the virus to Yemen," WHO's representative in Yemen, Nevio Zagaria, said in a statement.
Polio, which spreads quickly among children and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours, remains endemic in only three countries - Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Yemen was declared polio-free in 2009, but experts say conflict-affected countries are particularly at risk of outbreaks because of disruption to their health systems.

WHO's spokesman on polio eradication, Sona Bari, said both Syria and Iraq saw polio outbreaks a few years ago.

"This is why the (Yemen) campaign at this time is extremely important," she said.

"We have been very lucky that polio hasn't shown up in Yemen, but it is a virus that travels very easily and is very good at finding unprotected children."

The immunisation drive, which began on Monday, had been scheduled for last September, but insecurity has hampered access.

The vaccination teams will also target high-risk groups including families uprooted from their homes by fighting and refugees who have fled to Yemen from conflicts in Africa.

Agencies

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