Wednesday, 4 Zulhijjah 1439 / 15 August 2018

Wednesday, 4 Zulhijjah 1439 / 15 August 2018

Senior UN officials sound alarm on situation in Yemen

Rabu 06 December 2017 16:01 WIB

Red: Reiny Dwinanda

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh

Foto: Reuters

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, UNITED NATIONS -- Senior UN officials have sounded the alarm on the dire security and humanitarian situation in Yemen as military conflict flared up in the Arab world's poorest country, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Tuesday.

Briefing the Security Council in closed-door consultations, the UN secretary-general's special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, reported alarming levels of violence which are having a devastating impact on the civilian population, according to Dujarric.

New clashes broke out about a week ago between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The two forces were previous allies against forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The clashes have led to the death of Saleh as well as dozens of others, including civilians.

The killings of Saleh and others are an adverse development, which would constitute a considerable change to the political dynamics in Yemen, said Ahmed, calling on the parties to show restraint and to abstain from provocative actions.

Ahmed emphasized that the need for a negotiated settlement is more acute today than ever, reiterating that only an inclusive peace process can bring a peaceful, viable and sustainable solution for the people of Yemen.

UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock told the council that the humanitarian situation remains severe, with millions of Yemenis on the cusp of the largest famine in modern times.

Briefing the council, Lowcock said nearly 8.5 million people are on the brink of starvation, up from under 7 million in June.

While the World Food Programme has 136,000 metric tons of food supplies in Yemen and there has been a limited resumption in commercial food imports, this is not enough, said Dujarric.

There are seven commercial vessels carrying half a month's supply of Yemen's food requirements just off the coast of Yemen, awaiting permission from the Saudi-led coalition to enter the Red Sea ports of Hudaydah and Saleef.

There are also seven commercial vessels carrying desperately needed fuel en route to Yemen, said the spokesman.

Humanitarian flights, including UN and Red Cross flight, resumed to Sanaa on Tuesday morning. Another nongovernmental organization flight is expected on Wednesday, he said.

The Saudi-led military coalition is fighting Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Saleh in a bid to restore the Hadi government.

The recent outbreak of fighting between the rebel alliance further complicated the situation and aggravated the already dire humanitarian situation in the country.

Despite calls made on Monday for a humanitarian cease-fire, airstrikes have continued while ground fighting and shelling have been reduced, according to Dujarric.

Two Saudi-led coalition airstrikes struck close to the UN compound in Sanaa on Monday, both less than 1,000 meters from the compound.

The United Nations again stresses that attacks directed against UN and humanitarian premises and against civilian infrastructure are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law, said the UN spokesman.

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