Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen discusses the importance of the upcoming Geneva peace talks.
The UN is appealing for humanitarian aid from the international community after UN-brokered efforts to end the ongoing conflict in Yemen drew a blank.
The UN relief arm called for $1.6bn in funding on Friday in order to rescue Yemen from a crisis that has led to acute food insecurity.
Stephen O’Brien, UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said that as fighting intensifies across the Arabian Peninsula nation, “a humanitarian catastrophe” looms.
Yemenis are struggling to feed their families and basic services are collapsing in all regions.
“Millions of families no longer have access to clean water, proper sanitation or basic healthcare,” O’Brien said.
“Deadly diseases such as dengue and malaria have broken out, and supplies for acute trauma care are running dangerously low.”
A report submitted by Dr Abdulnasser Alwali, chairman of the Higher Medical Public Committee – Aden (HMPCA), pointed to signs of a lethal disease outbreak in Aden governorate.
“The health situation in Aden is disastrous. The hospitals have become congested with patients [suffering from] acute fever of unknown etiology on top of those who are dying from dengue fever and typhoid,” he said.
“There is simply no beds available to admit any patients suffering from infectious diseases or casualities secondary to the ongoing conflict.”
On the political front, delegates of Yemen’s exiled government have now returned to Saudi Arabia after peace talks with a Houthi-led delegation in Geneva collapsed.
The Houthis later accused Saudi Arabia of sabotaging the negotiations, which collapsed on Friday in the Swiss city without an agreement or truce.
A car bomb exploded in Sanaa on Saturday near the Qiba al-Mahdi mosque used by the Houthi rebels, with one person reportedly killed.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN special envoy for Yemen, said a ceasefire should be declared before any new round of negotiations can begin.
He pledged to “redouble effort” to reach such a ceasefire, and held out hope that an agreement could be reached “pretty soon”.
The fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and allied troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni armed groups and loyalists of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is now based in Saudi Arabia.