Arab League spokesman says 'urgent' action required on Yemen humanitarian crisis

Ahram Online , Tuesday 28 Nov 2017

The pan Arab organisation's chief calls on the international community to solve this crisis and give it highest priority

A technician unloads doses of vaccines from a plane after it landed in the rebel-held Yemeni capital Sanaa on November 25, 2017 (Photo: AFP)

Yemen is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance from the regional and international communities and any such efforts would be welcomed, the spokesperson of the Arab League's chief said on Tuesday.

Mohamed Afifi said the armed conflict in Yemen has caused a "humanitarian crisis amid continuous and noticeable deterioration in living conditions."

This situation is affecting the health and nutritional status and of Yemeni children, as well as the elderly and the sick, he said.

Afifi noted that the pan-Arab organisation's chief, Ahmed Abul-Gheit, believes that solving this crisis should be the highest priority for the international community, adding that all resolutions issued by the Arab League on Yemen have put an emphasis on this matter.

"The time has come for the Houthis, and those who are having an alliance with them, to realize that they are destroying the country [Yemen] and causing suffering for millions of innocent Yemenis. The Houthis are responsible for the deterioration Yemen has reached on all levels because of their intransigence and refusal of all compromises that were suggested to settle the conflict and lead Yemen to avoid the ongoing war," Afifi concluded.

According to a Reuters report, 7 million people face famine in Yemen. Medical supplies and humanitarian aid workers arrived to Yemen's capital Sanaa on Saturday following an easing of a three-week blockade imposed by the Saudi-led military coalition fighting against the Houthi rebels.

"First plane landed in Sanaa this morning with humanitarian aid workers,” the World Food Programme’s regional spokeswoman Abeer Etefa told Reuters on Saturday.

“Sanaa airport was closed from Nov. 6 until today, more than 18 days, and this closure caused an obstruction to the presence of aid workers,” Etefa added.

On 7 November, Jens Laerke, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), described the three-week blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition  as 'catastrophic' for the Yemeni people on basic supplies. 

Laerke said "that lifeline has to be kept open and it is absolutely essential that the operation of the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) be allowed to continue unhindered."

He said that the blockade had led to a 60 percent increase in fuel prices, as well as a 100 percent rise in prices of cooking gas. “Long lines of cars are queuing at gas stations,” he noted.

According to a report by the UN News Centre, 90 percent of Yemen's "daily needs" are fulfilled through imports.


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