Sunday, October 17

The war rages on in Yemen as the UN warns that “the worst famine the world has known in decades” looms


Updated

The Yemeni civil war has just opened a new chapter with the renewed assault on the strategic city of Marib by the rebel Chi group of the Hutes, supported by Tehern.

Yemen family
Yemen family in the San mountains.YAHYA ARHABEFE
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Far from leading the way towards a truce, pushed by the last steps taken by the United States, the Yemeni civil war has just opened a new chapter with the renewed assault on the strategic city of Marib by the rebel group chi of the hutes among UN warnings that, without funding for humanitarian assistance this year, the poorest nation in the Persian Gulf is slipping into “worst famine the world has known in decades”.

“We are running out of time. Malnutrition rates are on record and 400,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition. They are in their last weeks or months of life. All over Yemen16 million people go hungry, including five million who are one step away from famine, “warns Mark Lowcock, UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs. His office estimates that the operation to help the population requires 4,000 million dollars by 2021. In 2019 the financing arrived to 90% but last year, in the middle of a situation aggravated by the spread of Covid-19, only half could be covered.

The new pleas from the UN, to organize a donors conference next month, coincide with a worsening of the conflict that since 2015 has pitted the Iran-backed Hutes against the Iranian government. Abu Rabu Mansur Hadi, supported by the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month, the Hutes renewed their attack on Marib, a government stronghold in the center of the country prized for its oil and gas reserves. For more than five years the enclave, in relative calm, has received one million internally displaced people on whom a new exodus is now looming. Dozens of combatants have died and three civilians have lost their lives in recent weeks due to the launch of up to four missiles on the city.

The escalation of violence threatens to aggravate the tragedy in Yemen, which has become the scene of the greatest humanitarian catastrophe on the planet. “The international committee of the Red Cross urges all parties to the conflict to take the necessary measures to protect civilians, their property and all essential civil infrastructure,” the entity demanded this Friday, joining other requests for an immediate cessation of hostilities. “The attack on Marib must stop. It puts millions of civilians at risk, especially with skirmishes threatening to reach the camps of the internally displaced. The search for territorial gains by force threatens all possibilities of the peace process “, has denounced Martin Griffiths, UN envoy in Yemen.

The decision of the Joe Biden administration to withdraw logistical and arms support to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and appoint an envoy to the country had opened a gap in the hope of advancing the UN-sponsored dialogue. “There is an important opportunity right now to help Yemen move towards lasting peace but it will fade away and end up in the trash if the country sinks into mass famine,” predicts Lowcock.

More than 20,000 bombings

“What is needed is simply and fundamentally the political will to end this conflict.”underlines Griffiths, who has spent three years trying to break “the cycles of violence” in which Yemen is plunged, a dust where separatists from the south and jihadist organizations such as Al Qaeda and the self-styled Islamic State coexist. “Nobody can force them to sign peace except if they choose dialogue and lay down their arms. The responsibility to end this war is on the parties and I hope they will assume it now,” he adds.

In his opinion, the opposing sides “should immediately agree to a truce at the national level that stops all forms of confrontation and economic and humanitarian measures that should at least ensure the unobstructed flow of fuel and other products inside from Yemen through the ports of Hodeida, with a port revenue destined to pay the salaries of civil servants according to the 2014 payroll database and the opening of the San airport to international commercial traffic. “

The dispute over the distribution of the income generated by the port of Hodeida – through which most of the goods enter the country – has caused 13 oil tankers to be currently waiting for permission in the vicinity of the facilities. In an attempt to relaunch the peace process, the envoy visited Tehern this month for the first time since he took office. The absence of mention of his journey before the UN Security Council does not show optimism on the possibility of starting a commitment to the hutes.

Since the beginning of the bombings in March 2015, 130,000 people have died. The alliance has signed more than 20,000 bombings. A third of the lead has fallen on schools, hospitals and civil facilities, aggravating the crisis. Cholera, dengue fever, malaria, diphtheria and hunger have spread in recent years. 24 million yemen – 80 percent of the population – need help to survive; 19.7 million need health care and 17 million do not have access to water, sanitation and minimal hygiene.

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