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State Department announces aid for Yemen, Venezuela, Rohingya refugees

The U.S. State Department announced additional aid for Yemen, Venezuela and Rohingya refugees on Wednesday. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
The U.S. State Department announced additional aid for Yemen, Venezuela and Rohingya refugees on Wednesday. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department on Wednesday announced additional humanitarian aid for Yemen, Venezuela and the regions affected by the Rakhine State/Rohingya refugee crisis.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $290 million in assistance for the people of Yemen amid an ongoing war between Houthi rebels and the internationally recognized government of Yemen and the Saudi-led coalition.

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The assistance includes $209 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development and nearly $82 million through the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and contributes to efforts to assist 20 million people who rely on humanitarian assistance for food, health, water, sanitation, hygiene, shelter, protection and education.

It also supports the prevention and treatment of malnutrition, rehabilitation of water systems for safe drinking water, helping families earn income as well as providing shelter supplies and hygiene items to protect against COVID-19.

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"The United States remains committed to delivering aid to the most vulnerable in Yemen and calls for an end to obstructions and bureaucratic hurdles," Blinken said. "We continue to call on the Yemeni government, Saudi Arabia and the Houthis to do their part to ensure that fuel is flowing into and throughout Yemen at prices Yemenis can afford and to remove any obstacles or impediments to this end, so Yemeni civilians can access basic services and aid."

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The contribution brings the total of aid provided by the United States to Yemen to $806 million in the Fiscal Year 2021 and more than $4 billion since 2014.

Also Wednesday, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, senior adviser for special political affairs, announced $247 million in humanitarian assistance and $89 million in economic and development assistance for Venezuela.

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The State Department said the aid will support 7 million people with "critical needs" in Venezuela as well as nearly 5.7 million Venezuelans who have sought refuge in 17 countries and the communities that have welcomed them.

"This announcement demonstrates our solidarity with the Venezuelan people and our ongoing commitment to strengthening the international response to the crisis," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Lastly, Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield announced nearly $180 million in aid for those affected by the Rakhine State/Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar, Bangladesh and elsewhere in the region.

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The State Department said the United States has provided more than $1.5 billion in funding since August 2017 when more than 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee from ethnic cleansing in Myanmar's Rakhine State to Bangladesh.

The aid includes funding for education, food security, health, nutrition, protection, shelter, disaster response, water, sanitation and hygiene.

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"The United States recognizes the challenges and responsibilities that the response has placed on the people and Government of Bangladesh, and we underscore the continued commitment of the international community to addressing and resolving this crisis," Price said in a statement.

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