UN warns of 'catastrophic' conditions in Yemen, as famine and cholera worsen
In three years of war, over 9 thousand dead and 22 million people in need of assistance. Of these 8.4 million suffer famine. Cholera has hit 1.1 million people and cases of diphtheria have emerged, absent since 1982. UN expert: The "worst humanitarian crisis in the world" is underway.
Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Because of the war, living conditions in Yemen have become "catastrophic" and there is an ever-increasing risk of famine and cholera epidemics. This is the alarm sounded by UN experts operating in the Arab country, according to which "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world" is underway.
Speaking to the UN Security Council John Ging, responsible for aid operations in the area speaks of "catastrophic" reality. "People's lives - he adds - are constantly broken. Since November, the conflict has intensified, with another 10 thousand people who have had to leave their homes ".
Since January 2015, Yemen has been the scene of a bloody civil war opposing the country’s Sunni elites led by former President Hadi, backed by Riyadh, and Shia Houthi rebels, who are close to Iran. In March 2015, a Saudi-led Arab coalition began attacking the rebels, sparking criticism from the United Nations over heavy casualties, including many children.
UN sources speak of over 9200 deaths, of which 60% are civilians, and 45 thousand injured. Out of a total of 28 million inhabitants, the conflict has also left up to 22 million people in need of assistance and humanitarian aid in order to survive; of these 8.4 are in conditions of famine.
Over 80% of the population lack food, fuel, clean water and access to basic health services. The Saudi blockade in place since the beginning of November has also contributed to aggravating the situation. Cholera has infected 1.1 million people since April of last year and new cases of diphtheria have been reported, absent since 1982. The apostolic vicar also confirmed to AsiaNews the seriousness of the "disaster" that is taking place in the Arab country.
Recently, the special UN envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed left his post, after three years of unsuccessful attempts at mediation to reach a truce. In his resignation letter, he raised the alarm over the growing use of child soldiers (especially among the Houthi rebels), a phenomenon that would now involve thousands of minors.
Meanwhile, the divisions within the UN Security Council do not help find a way to peace. In recent days Russia has used the right of veto to block a UN resolution [wanted by the United States] that accused Tehran of involvement in the conflict.