Wednesday, September 02, 2009

An update on the aid emergency in Yemen

Aid workers cannot enter the Yemen city of Saada where over 35,000 people are trapped due to armed conflict. The city lacks the water, food and electricity needed for those trapped people. Fighting has intensified between the Yemen government and Islamic rebels.

The World Heath Organization is currently giving out medicine and malaria bed nets to those who have managed to escape. The U.N.s World Food Programme has already had to cut back on food aid in the region due to the violence.

From this Reuters article, reporter Stephanie Nebehay fills us in on the aid emergency.

"We need access to these people, they lack water and electricity. Living conditions are more and more precarious for the displaced and residents," said Elisabeth Byrs of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR has called for a ceasefire in the latest flare-up of fighting between Yemen's government and Shi-ite Muslim rebels, which has driven an estimated 100,000 people from their homes in the north of the Arab country.

"According to those who managed to flee the besieged city and our staff on the ground, the fighting appears to be concentrated in the old Saada city. They also report frequent air strikes (in the area)," said the UNCHR's Andrej Mahecic.

The government rejected a truce offer by Shi'ite al-Houthi rebels late on Monday, after accusing the Iranian media of stoking the conflict. [IDnL1563997]

Aid agencies are now trying to arrange a "humanitarian corridor" to get supplies into Saada through Saudi Arabia.

Malaria, measles and diarrhoeal diseases pose a serious threat to uprooted people without access to medical services, and areas of northwestern Hajjah province are showing high levels of malaria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

No comments: