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Yemen: US,UK bombing spells disaster for civilians facing famine

January 17, 2024 at 10:12 am

A view from Combating Malnutrition Department of Sabeen Hospital as children receiving medical aid with limited facilities due to malnutrition in Sanaa, Yemen on October 12, 2021 [Mohammed Hamoud – Anadolu Agency]

Twenty-six international organisations have expressed “grave concern” over the humanitarian impacts of the recent US-led bombing of Yemen.

In a statement released yesterday, they said: “The humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains one of the largest in the world and escalation will only worsen the situation for vulnerable civilians and hinder the ability of aid organisations to deliver critical services.”

“We urge all actors to prioritise diplomatic channels over military options to de-escalate the crisis and safeguard the progress of peace efforts in Yemen. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected, and safe, unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance must be guaranteed,” they added

A Saudi-led coalition had been at war with Yemen’s de facto government since 2015. This left more than 21 million people – over two-thirds of the population – in desperate need of food, water, and lifesaving assistance, the NGOs said. Peace talks were being held to end the hostilities as Saudi sought to extract itself from the conflict. Recent strikes on Yemen by the US and UK are further exacerbating the situation for millions of Yemenis who face widespread displacement, food insecurity and limited access to basic services, they added.

As a result of the security threat in the Red Sea, the rights groups explained, “some humanitarian organisations have been forced to suspend operations over safety and security concerns, while others assess their ability to operate.”

“Further escalation could result in more organisations being forced to halt their operations in areas where there are ongoing hostilities.”

They added that the threats to aid deliveries are compounding difficulties already faced by groups working in Yemen, which have seen a decline in global funding and suspension in food aid.

The statement was signed by Action contre la Faim (ACF), Action for Humanity International, CARE, the Danish Refugee Council, Muslim Hands, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children among other organsiations.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP): “The current level of hunger in Yemen is unprecedented and is causing severe hardship for millions of people. Despite ongoing humanitarian assistance, 17 million Yemenis are food insecure… The humanitarian situation in Yemen is extremely fragile and any disruption in the pipeline of critical supplies such as food, fuel and medicines has the potential to bring millions of people closer to starvation and death.”

READ: US launches new strikes against Houthis in Yemen