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Taking off for UAE, Pope Francis calls for relief in Yemen

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has appealed for the end of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, saying the “cries of these children and their parents rise up” to God.

He makes the appeal at the Vatican an hour before his scheduled departure on a three-day trip to the United Arab Emirates, which is a key member of the Saudi-led coalition at war with Yemen’s Iran-aligned rebels. The conflict has driven Yemen to the brink of famine and caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Francis urges faithful in St. Peter’s Square to join him in prayer, saying “these are hungry children” with no medicine, and “are in danger of dying.” Noting that many can’t reach food aid areas, he appeals to the involved parties and the international community to urgently ensure that agreements are reached and food distributed.

Francis is expected in the United Arab Emirates later today, where he will become the first pontiff to visit the Arabian Peninsula.

— AP

Pope Francis celebrates Mass with members of religious institutions on the occasion of the celebration of the XXIII world day of consecrated life in St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican,on February 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

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