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Apr 19, 6:52 AM EDT

UN says Saudis commit to fund aid appeal for Yemen

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AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- The United Nations says Saudi Arabia has agreed to completely cover the $273.7 million needed for emergency aid to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe inside Yemen.

The U.N issued the urgent appeal last week, saying it was needed to save lives and protect some 7.5 million people affected by Yemen's conflict and in dire need of medical supplies, safe drinking water, food assistance, emergency shelter and logistical support.

Purnima Kahsyap, humanitarian coordinator for OCHA in Yemen, said that the U.N. was thankful to Saudi Arabia for covering the entire appeal cost, but urged all other partners to continue to provide assistance as the needs continue to grow.

A Saudi-led coalition launched an air offensive against Yemen's Shiite rebels on March 26.

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