June 3 (UPI) -- Donors have pledged $1.3 billion for aid in war-torn Yemen but the total was well below the $2.4 billion the United Nations aimed to raise.
Mark Lowcock, U.N. under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, made the announcement Tuesday at the end of a fundraising conference that was co-hosted by Saudi Arabia.
Saudi participation raised eyebrows because of its military support for the Yemeni government and charges that it has committed war crimes during its fight against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Riyadh had pledged $500 million to the U.N. humanitarian effort for Yemen, which was supported by the Saudi royal family. The United Nations had wanted to raise $1 billion more in Yemeni humanitarian funds for the remainder of the year.
"When the pledges are paid literally means the difference between life and death for countless Yemeni people," said Lowcock, who co-hosted the event with Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the supervisor general of Saudi Arabia's King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.
Lowcock kept the door open for countries that did not make pledges.
"This is not the end," he said.
Despite the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, 75 percent of charity organizations have had to leave due to lack of funding.
Some blame the Houthis for the lack of donations. The rebels have been accused of blocking aid to reach areas they control, including the country's capital of Sanaa. The United States has cut its humanitarian support to Yemen because of Houthi interference.