Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Yemen facing starvation and diptheria despite temporary end to Saudi blockade

Yemenis receiving cash support from UNICEF Women display paper currency after receiving cash support from UNICEF in Sanaa Yemen on Nov. 14 2015
Patty Aguilar | 17 January, 2018, 10:04

Yemen was the world's worst humanitarian crisis, where 8.3-million people were entirely dependent on external food aid and 400,000 children suffered from severe acute malnutrition, a potentially lethal condition, they said.

The warning came as the World Health Organisation reported a diphtheria outbreak was "spreading quickly", with 678 cases and 48 associated deaths in four months.

Before the Saudi war, Hudaida Port handled around 70 percent of Yemen's imports, including food and humanitarian supplies.

"Everyone is in the same trench to confront the aggression (Saudi-led coalition) and its plots that target Yemen, and that our homeland needs all of its people", Hisham told Saba reporter. "Then we don't know if the coalition will close or (leave) it open", Meritxell Relano, U.N. Children's Fund Representative in Yemen, said during a news briefing in Geneva.

The UN agency said more than 11 million children - or "nearly every child in Yemen" - was now in need of humanitarian assistance.

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United Nations spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told the Agence France-Presse that the four cranes will enable quicker delivery of items to "Yemeni families in the grips of the world's biggest hunger crisis".

But UN aid officials warn that access for humanitarian deliveries remains a concern even if the blockade is lifted. "This is a nightmare that is happening right now".

Three-quarters of Yemen's 29 million people are facing starvation or rely on humanitarian aid to survive, the United Nations said on Tuesday, as health organisations warned of a menacing new outbreak of diptheria which had already killed dozens of people.

"We can stop the outbreak by providing antibiotics and also vaccinating", she said, adding that 2.5 million doses have been imported for a planned immunization campaign.

A Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE, intervened in the war in 2015 to fight the Iran-backed group in favour of the legitimate government of Yemen's president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

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