The humanitarian situation in Yemen is on the verge of collapsing due to the military blockade of critical supplies such as food, fuel and medicines. This might bring millions of people closer to starvation and death. The Saudi Arabia’s prolonged war has already created havoc with Yemen witnessing the largest ever Cholera outbreak.
The recent statement, issued by United Nations and major humanitarian organisations working in Yemen, warned about the “alarming” crisis unfolding in the country. Urging the military to put an end to the blockade and initiate a peace process, the statement read:
There are over 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance; seven million of them, are facing famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid to survive. In six weeks, the food supplies to feed them will be exhausted. Over 2.2 million children are malnourished, of those, 3, 85,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition and require therapeutic treatment to stay alive. Any food shortage will result in a further increase of food prices beyond the purchasing power of the average Yemeni. The closure has started to impact the daily life of Yemenis with the price of fuel spiking 60 percent overnight and the price of cooking gas doubling.
Dozens of ships carrying vital food and supplies to Yemen over the past 30 months were stopped by a Saudi Arabian warship that blocked the country’s ports on the Red Sea, according to reports. Blaming Iran and Hezbollah for arming and supporting Houtis rebel groups, Saudi battleships and ground forces have ensured a complete blockade against Yemen.
The Riyadh seems to coerce the Yemeni population into submission through its blockade in the prolonged war where Saudi forces are losing its ground. According to experts, such acts, putting the civilian population at the brink of starvation, is clearly a crime against humanity and is being done with a genocidal intent.
“It will be the largest famine the world has seen in many decades,” Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, told the media late Wednesday, after briefing the Security Council.
United Nations humanitarian flights have been cancelled for the past week and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), along with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), have been prevented from flying vital medical assistance into the country, reports Guardian.
Meanwhile, the Houthis have issued a stern warning to Saudi forces, threatening to sink Saudi coalition warships and oil tankers unless Riyadh lifts its blockade which threatens the lives of millions in the war-torn country.
Earlier, Brig. Gen. Sharaf Ghalib Luqman, a military spokesman for the Houthi rebels, said that “systematic crimes of aggression” and the “closure of ports” compels the Houthi forces “to target all sources of funding” of the aggressor. He added the country is ready to “respond to the escalation of the Saudi-US aggression promptly.”
After the warning, Saudi government seems to have agreed to ease the blockade.
The internal crisis in the Saudi kingdom after the ‘royal crackdown’ launched by the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) and the weakening economy has pushed the country into turmoil. Losing its war in Yemen, Prince MBS is trying to consolidate power and show that he is running the show in the region.
The international community, including United States (one of player in Yemen conflict) and European countries, seems to be in denial, despite the catastrophic humanitarian crisis unfolding.
The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of $1.3 billion worth of air-to-ground weapons to Saudi Arabia, to replenish the Royal Saudi Air Force’s (RSAF) current weapons supplies, which are becoming depleted due to the high operational requirements of the offensive in Yemen. The sale includes approximately 22,000 bombs.