Wed, Aug 12, 2015 - Page 6 News List

‘Crumbling’ Yemen desperately needs aid, Red Cross says

Reuters, GENEVA, Switzerland

Yemen is “crumbling” under a deepening humanitarian crisis after months of civil war, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) president Peter Maurer said yesterday.

Maurer, ending a three-day visit to the Arabian Peninsula country, called for free access to deliver life-saving food, water and medicine, while urging the warring parties to work toward a negotiated solution.

“The humanitarian situation is nothing short of catastrophic. Every family in Yemen has been affected by this conflict...The world needs to wake up to what is going on,” Maurer said in a statement.

Nearly 4,000 people have been killed and 1.3 million forced to flee their homes during the conflict, he said.

A political crisis in Yemen descended into civil war in March, when Iranian-allied Houthi forces who had seized the capital, Sana’a, advanced south toward the main port of Aden, forcing Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led Arab military coalition began a bombing campaign against the Houthis on March 26 to restore Hadi and fend off what they see as Iranian influence in their backyard. Houthi forces have since been pushed back on several fronts.

“The compounded effects of intense fighting and import restrictions are having a dramatic impact on healthcare. Health facilities have been massively attacked as well as suffering collateral damage,” Maurer said.

“Medicines can’t get in so patient care is falling apart. Fuel shortages mean equipment doesn’t work. This cannot go on. Yemen is crumbling. As a matter of urgency, there must be free movement of goods into and across the country ... Much more needs to be done,” he said.

Since January, the ICRC — one of the few international relief agencies left in Yemen — has helped supply water to more than 2 million people, and provided food and other essentials for more than 100,000, the statement said.

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