'Humanitarian catastrophe' unfolding in Yemen: UN

Humanitarian chief says more than 21 million Yemenis are in need of some form of aid and calls for unconditional access.

    Yemen, even in non-war times, relies almost solely on imports and the conflict has slowed shipments to a trickle [EPA]
    Yemen, even in non-war times, relies almost solely on imports and the conflict has slowed shipments to a trickle [EPA]

    The UN humanitarian chief has said a "humanitarian catastrophe" is unfolding in Yemen with more than 21 million Yemenis in need of some form of aid.

    Stephen O'Brien said on Tuesday that the situation was exacerbated by increased restrictions on efforts to respond to what he called the "staggering needs" of millions of people, including the diversion of a UN aid ship by Saudi-led coalition forces.

    O'Brien said that more than 6,000 people had been killed since the beginning of coalition strikes against Houthi rebels in March 2015, of which about half were civilians.

    He said more than 700 children had been killed and some 1,000 injured.

    At least 7.6 million people were now "severely food-insecure" and more than 3.4 million children were out of school, the official said.


    ANALYSIS: What went wrong in Yemen?


    O'Brien's briefing to the UN Security Council, which was requested by Russia, was the first that focused on the humanitarian crisis sparked by the war.
    He said the Houthi rebels had been inconsistent in allowing access and movement of humanitarian goods and personnel, and that a recent warning by Saudi Arabia about the safety of aid workers in "Houthi-controlled areas" had caused delays to key missions.
    Is Saudi Arabia guilty of war crimes in Yemen?

    The UN official urged the council to demand that all combatants facilitate unconditional humanitarian access to all parts of Yemen.

    "UN agencies and NGO partners are delivering assistance under extraordinarily difficult and dangerous circumstances," O'Brien said.

    "Just this last Sunday, a Saudi-led coalition air strike hit a building 200 metres away from the Diplomatic Transit Facility, accommodating UN and diplomatic personnel."

    UN sanctions monitors said in a report last month that the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebels have targeted civilians and that some of the attacks could be crimes against humanity.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    What happens when the US government shuts down?

    The US government has shut down. What happens next?

    US federal government begins partial shutdown after Senate blocks short-term spending bill. What happens next?

    Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?

    Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?

    Is an empowered Palestinian girl not worthy of Western feminist admiration?