Vatican News

Yemen: no food, fuel or medicine for vulnerable civilians

An air-raid on Yemen's main airport and the closure of all air, land and sea ports since November 6th is causing further humanitarian distress to the Yemeni population with 7 million people on the brink of starvation and a cholera epidemic described as the "largest and fastest growing" in history.

In Yemen, an air raid by the Saudi-led military coalition fighting against the Houthi movement has shut down the nation’s main airport further isolating the country where millions are on the brink of famine.

Humanitarian organizations are warning of worsening conditions for the ravaged population.

Seven million people are already facing starvation and  a lack of medical assistance in Yemen. Last night’s air raid on Sanaa airport and a recent blockade of all air, land and seaports mean that there are no humanitarian or commercial supplies available to relief workers or to the population putting more and more vulnerable people at risk.

According to the Saudi-led coalition the closure aims to stem the flow of arms to Houthi militants from Iran. 

Three-year conflict
The Houthis control most of the north, including Sanaa and its international airport, while the Saudi-led coalition dominates the airspace. Any reopening would need an agreement between the two sides which are locked in a three-year conflict and that blame each other for Yemen’s humanitarian disaster.

No basic necessities reaching the population

Observers say that “With commercial traffic flows hampered, prices for essential commodities including food, trucked water, household gas and fuel are all skyrocketing”.

Cholera epidemic

The nation is also in the throes of a cholera epidemic which has been described as the largest and fastest-spreading outbreak of the disease in modern history, with a million cases expected by the end of the year and at least 600,000 children likely to be affected.

The cholera epidemic is a direct result of conflict which has brought the country to its knees with the healthcare system on the brink of collapse, starving children and the people blocked from getting the medical treatment they need.

Pope Francis' appeal

Pope Francis has appealed to wealthy nations to help resolve the tragic situation in Yemen, where he said, “the people are lacking the food and water needed to survive.

Speaking to participants of the G20 Summit in July he said world leaders should strive to "substantially reduce levels of conflict, halt the present arms race and renounce direct or indirect involvement in conflicts."

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15 November 2017, 15:52