Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

Yemen people's suffering relentlessly intensified: United Nations official

Yemen people's suffering relentlessly intensified: United Nations official

United Nations aid chief Stephen O'Brien slammed Yemen's government and a Saudi-led military coalition for "unilaterally denying or excessively delaying entry to vessels carrying essential cargo" to the port.

Saudi officials have privately urged the U.N.to engage in further high level discussions before publishing the report.

The United Nations has worked to avert attacks on Hodeidah port, where around 80 percent of Yemen's food imports arrive.

The "vicious and brutal" war between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and Iran-allied Houthi rebels is frequently conducted with complete disregard for worldwide humanitarian law, Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council at a briefing in NY.

UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told the Council via videolink that Yemen today continues to traverse a critical and agonizing period as civilians pay a awful price of an unending power struggle, adding that those who survive the fighting face death by starvation or disease as the economic situation continues to deteriorate and the humanitarian conditions worsen.

In 2016, there has been at least 4 000 cases of violations verified because of government forces and more than 11 500 by non-state armed groups, he wrote.

Al Qaeda has exploited the conflict to try to deepen its influence in Yemen, repeatedly launching bomb and gun attacks. In contrast, the Islamic State was responsible for six child casualties and al-Qaida one.

"I renew my call.to address the following points: ensure that all ports - land, sea and air - are open to civilian - including commercial - traffic", O'Brien said, adding that the airport in the capital Sanaa should be opened "immediately" to humanitarian aid. Since then, the Iranian-backed Houthis have been dislodged from most of the south, but remain in control of Sanaa and much of the north.

The conflict, which has been ongoing since 2014, is a "deplorable, avoidable, completely man-made catastrophe that is ravaging the country", O'Brien said.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed told the Security Council on Friday he is working to get a deal to secure the flow of aid, payment of salaries to civil servants and prevention of arms smuggling. Saudi Arabia denied threatening Ban.

"It includes a practical plan to hand over the port to a committee of respected Yemeni security and economic figures, working under United Nations oversight and guidance", he said.

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