Sunday, April 12, 2015

Casualties mount and humanitarian crisis worsens in Yemen

Smoke billows from a Saudi-led airstrike on Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, Insurgents seem to have protected many of their weapons stockpiles from bombardments.
Smoke from an Saudi airstrike on Sanaa last Wednesday (Photo AP)

The United Nations called, Friday, for an immediate “humanitarian pause” of at least a few hours each day in Yemen to allow urgently needed humanitarian aid to reach conflict-affected areas in the country.
Two aircrafts carrying medical aid provided by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross landed Friday, in Sana’a. This aid is the first batch to reach the Yemeni capital Sana’a since the start of Saudi-led airstrikes against Yemen in late March. However, relief agencies warned that there is an urgent need for more aid.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced that it sent a load of aid to Aden along with a team of five Doctors, earlier this week.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Johannes Van der Klaauw, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, said that basic services suffer from collapse, pointing out the lack of food and fuel added to a sharp rise in the basic commodities’ prices.
“We must be able, as aid workers, to safely deliver this life-saving assistance in all affected areas in Yemen. To this end, I have been calling, and doing it again this morning, on all the parties for an immediate humanitarian pause in this conflict,” said Van der Klaauw.
“We need many more of these flights coming in, many more of these boats coming in,” he stated, stressing the necessity that the airspace over Sana’a be cleared for “a few hours at least” each day to allow the aid to get in, stating that the death toll is much higher than what was announced by international relief organizations.
He described the crisis in Yemen as one of the largest and most complex humanitarian emergencies in the world and that it needs an immediate window of opportunity to be opened through bringing humanitarian aid to desperate Yemeni people.
“Many areas in the country are also experiencing frequent power cuts, shortages of water and fuel. In the second city of the country, Aden, one million people risk being cut off from access to clean drinking water within a matter of days,” he added.
“We should not forget that the current conflict in Yemen takes place against the backdrop of a humanitarian crisis of a protracted nature and of a size and a complexity which is amongst the largest in the world,” Van der Klaauw emphasized. “That was already the case before, and this current conflict has aggravated the situation and has made the population increasingly vulnerable.” he added.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said, Friday, that about 900 people arrived in the Horn of Africa, fleeing from Yemen across the Gulf of Aden.

The Saudis revealed that launched about b1200 airstrikes since the beginning of the campaign. In his daily press briefing held Saturday at Riyadh Airbase, Brig. Asiri, the spokesperson of the Decisive Storm said that the goals of the air phase have not changed, but the proportion of air operations is changed, admitting that the raids have targeted schools, stadiums and other civil institutions as they syuspect that these are being used by the Houthis as ztorage places.He said that “the coalition started with 50 airstrikes per day, then increased the number of airstrikes to 80 per day and late and currently they are launching about 120 airstrikes a day.”
The United Nations says the conflict in Yemen has killed 600 people, wounded 2,200 and displaced 100,000 others. On Wedneaday two larghe residnetial buildings in the capital Sanaa were hit, injuring and killing scores of people. Saturday offical osurces reprted that at least 56 civilians were killed in several parts of the country.
As the aggression of Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies all backed by the US continue, the military and security forces allied with Ansar Allah fighters (aka Houthis) have been making huge gains and advances in the oil-rich Shabwah province.
Security sources in Sanaa revealed on Saturday that nearly 85 officers eand military were arrested for collaboration with the Saudi led forces. Those arrested worked for the Political Security Apparatus (PSA),  Special Security Forces (SSF), Ghamdan Brigade in Noqom, al-Kharafi military camp and  the National Security Bureau (NSB). They were arrested on charges of planting electronic chips to guide hostile aircraft carrying out airstrikes.
Pakistan’s parliament voted unanimously Friday to stay out of the Saudi Arabian-led air campaign targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen, offering instead to mediate a solution. This was a devastating blow to Saudi Arabia as it seeks to build support for its offensive in Yemen.

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