Cairo, EGYPT: Nine months of civil war and a military intervention by Gulf Arab states targeting Iranian backed Houthi forces has devastated Yemen’s already meager medical infrastructure and put millions at risk of starvation.
Yemen imports more than 90 percent of its food and the lack of local agriculture leaves its inland population at particular risk with over half its population of twenty six million now classified as “food insecure” by the UN.
“The international community is sending enough food and medicine to the port at
“As the bombing continues about half of the population has fled Taiz city and we now have the problem of getting the assistance which has arrived
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that as the conflict in Yemen drags on
Last week a 12-truck convoy finally entered Taiz after months of negotiations between warring factions. The shipment of rations included enough vegetable oil, wheat, pulses and sugar to feed 18,000 people for a month.
Aid agencies admit that with about 250,000 residents left in Taiz, the situation remains precarious for the majority of families and Al Qutabi continues to coordinate a separate effort to bring in supplies over treacherous mountain passes using camel caravans.
“At least one in five households in the area do not have enough food to lead a healthy life, have lost their livelihoods and are facing life-threatening rates of acute malnutrition,” said Abeer Etefa, spokesman for the World Food Program in Cairo.
A UN report issued leaked this
A panel of experts said civilians were being deliberately starved as a war tactic and found that the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels has targeted civilians with air strikes in a "widespread and systematic" manner.
The report attributes 60 per cent, or 2,682, civilian deaths and injuries in the conflict to aerial bombing by the Saudi and Emirati forces describing their actions as a “grave violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution” in international law.
Saudi Arabia says its intervention in Yemen is based on a UN resolution passed last April calling for the restoration of the internationally recognized government in Sana’a and claims unrest there is a threat to its internal security.
The Saudis have focused their strikes on the north of the country – particularly in and around Sana’a, determined to continue the offensive until the capital is “completely liberated” from the rebels.
“Thousands of our civilians have been relocated from the border and the
Meanwhile Taiz, midway between Sana’a and the port city of Aden is under an Al Houthi siege.
An alliance of local forces dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood –considered moderate in
The single passage between the resistance and Houthi controlled parts of Taiz has been likened by international aid workers to the Rafah Crossing, the tightly restricted border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
Before the war, Taiz had 20 hospitals for; now only six are functioning.
Médecins Sans Frontières says basic healthcare is mainly being provided in people’s homes.
“Taiz is directly
“The challenge is to try to bring supplies to both.”
Jacob Wirtschafter is a Middle East correspondent for Associated Reporters Abroad and a contributor to i24 News from Cairo. His Twitter handle is @levantreporter