Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

UN, Red Cross warn of escalating conflict in Yemen

UN, Red Cross warn of escalating conflict in Yemen

The United Nations and the Red Cross warned Tuesday about an escalating conflict in northern Yemen between government forces and Shiite rebels that has already driven 120,000 people from their homes and is spreading to other provinces.
Fighting has recently expanded to the province of Amran, the U.N. said. Most of the fighting has been in Saada province, where there are reports of no water and no electricity for the last 15 days.
"The escalation of fighting between al-Houthi rebels and the government forces in northern Yemen over the past few days is worsening what is already a dire and complex humanitarian emergency," said Andrej Mahecic, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
The five-year-old rebellion is led by Shiite fighters who say the government is corrupt and too closely allied with the West. The fighting has raised fears that increased lawlessness could provide cover for al-Qaida militants who have sought sanctuary in the impoverished nation on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula.
Last week, Yemen's president, Abdullah Saleh, appealed to the rebels to put down their arms and threatened a punishing response by government forces if they did not. He also demanded the release of foreign and Yemeni hostages that he said the rebels were holding.
Mahecic said many people in Saada are struggling to get food because it is becoming too dangerous to go to markets.
The airport in the city is closed, but the refugee agency is bringing jerry cans, blankets and canvas tents by ship to Aden while the U.N. World Food Program is airlifting high-energy biscuits from a warehouse in Dubai to the Yemeni capital of San'a.
WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella said trucks then take the goods to conflict areas in the north, but they are often delayed because of bad roads, insecurity and checkpoints.
U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said little information is available on uprooted people in the north of the country, but said their number may reach 150,000 with the increased fighting in Amran. She said humanitarian organizations have no access there or in al-Jawf province where displaced people have relocated.
Aid officials have determined that a significant number of people are living in a valley without shelter or access to water, Byrs said. Some have heat stroke, severe dehydration, diarrhea and child malnutrition.
"Many are now left stranded without even a roof to protect them from the rain," said Jean-Nicolas Marti, the International Committee of the Red Cross' head of delegation in Yemen.
Byrs, however, welcomed a Yemeni government announcement that it would work to set up a humanitarian corridor so aid agencies can deliver supplies to people affected by the fighting.
The U.N. has allocated $1.2 million in emergency assistance for people uprooted in northern Yemen. It is preparing another appeal so that it can provide additional resources through the end of the year, Byrs said.


Updated : 2021-06-14 08:48 GMT+08:00