As famine worsens in Yemen, the United Nations pressures Saudi Arabia to stop the embargo on Yemen’s ports

A group of Yemenis staring at some destroyed buildings A group of Yemenis staring at some destroyed buildings Hani Mohammed/Associated Press

30 December 2017
On December, 2 the United Nations (UN) pressured Saudi Arabia to end the blockade of Yemen’s Red Sea Ports in order to avoid the spread of a catastrophic famine.

The appeal was launched by the directors of several UN agencies, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Food Programme (WFP) . The ongoing war between the internationally-recognised Yemen government and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement, has been disastrous for civilians.. It is estimated that there are about 20.7 million people who need humanitarian assistance or protection in Yemen, , of which 9.8 million need support urgently. Following a Saudi blockade of Yemen’s Red Sea ports, the price of food has become unbearably high, and  access to safe water has become a serious issue, as many cities are running out of fuel. Since almost 90 percent of food is imported in Yemen, it is feared that the blockade will have a huge impact in a short space of time. The lack of basic supplies is also affecting Yemen’s health systems. Hospitals and other health centres will not  be able to function effectively work without access to  water and fuel supplies . Moreover,  damages to the sewage system may increase the risk of a new outbreak of cholera, which has already infected nearly 1 million people in Yemen.

While  imminent catastrophe is feared by the international community, it is also argued to be entirely avoidable. The UN is planning to send a team to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, to have a clarification on the role of the Saudi coalition in this situation.


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