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Minister: Yemen Economy has Lost Billions Due to War with Houthis

Yemen’s economy reportedly has lost roughly $50 billion during the country’s ongoing conflict with Houthi rebels, according to Yemeni Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Najib Al-Awaj. The loss does not take into account the costs of damage to infrastructure. Awaj added that growth has been negative in all economic sectors during four years of fighting between the Saudi-backed government and the Houthis, who are supported by Iran. The fighting is largely seen as a proxy war between Tehran and Riyadh. The United States has provided military support to a Saudi-led anti-Houthi coalition although the Senate voted on March 13 to end this. The move is expected to be vetoed by President Donald Trump. Yemen and the Houthis agreed to a Swedish-mediated ceasefire in December, and despite a termination of fighting in Hodeida, whose seaport is seen as the country’s lifeline to the outside world, intermittent clashes have continued. According to Oxfam, three civilians are killed every day in Yemen. The war has led to what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with nearly four in five Yemenis depending on humanitarian assistance and protection to survive, and about 10 million on the brink of famine.