Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Yemen's Agony Carries On

The United Nations has appealed to Yemen’s warring factions to immediately withdraw troops from the lifeline port of Hodeidah and save a vital truce, as rights groups warned aid was not getting through to thousands who could starve to death. 

The UN had hoped that a ceasefire would hold and humanitarian aid would flow after both the Houthi rebel group and the recognised Yemeni government agreed to leave Hodeidah, Yemen’s main entry point for food and medical supplies. According to the deal, a local administration was supposed to take control of the Red Sea city and be monitored by a special UN mission. But UN envoy Martin Griffiths, who arrived in the rebel-held capital on Monday, acknowledged the proposed timelines for a pull-out from the port had passed unheeded while the country stood on the brink of famine. Vital humanitarian aid is not getting to those hardest hit by the fighting, a coalition of 14 aid agencies warned. 
Kimberley Brown of the British Red Cross said “I know from my colleagues that the situation is absolutely deteriorating at the moment.” 
Despite negotiations, the Houthi still control Hodeidah while troops loyal to the government and a Saudi-led coalition backing them are amassed on its outskirts as both sides cannot agree who should control the city or withdraw. Skirmishes continue and barricades, trenches and roadblocks have been reinforced.

Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, meanwhile called the shelling of a Hajjah displaced persons camp which killed eight and wounded thirty a “senseless attack”.

“The people who have fled their homes...have lost so much already. An attack like this cannot be justified – ever,” she said. 

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