The ongoing airstrikes that started late last month in Yemen have caused more than 120, 000 people to be evacuated, a UN spokesperson has said.
Yemen has been suffering from political unrest and clashes between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd- Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has fled the country. On March 26, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies launched airstrikes on the Shiite Houthi group that has seized parts of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa and is closing in on the southern port city of Aden.
“In Abyan, more than 1,730 displaced families are living temporarily in schools, in host communities or with family and relatives,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here on Monday, quoting information given by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as saying, Xinhua reported.
The OCHA also reported that the conflict has made it hard for people to get food; for example, in Aden, flour was not available in the local market and all bakeries have closed down, he said.
“Landlines and cell phone networks are no longer working in some areas in Aden, Abyan and Al Dhale’e,” he said. “People in Aden and Al Mukalla have experienced prolonged power outages lasting up to twelve hours.”
“Humanitarian partners are providing assistance, including water tanks, water trucking, rehabilitation of water and sanitation facilities, and medical clinics and stand ready to provide more as soon as roads are re-opened,” the spokesman said.
Yemen has been mired in political gridlock since 2011 when mass protests forced former President Ali Abdullash Saleh to step down. The three-year reconciliation talks failed to resolve the crisis but create huge power vacuum that could benefit the powerful al- Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and other extremist groups.
Valerie Amos, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and also the UN emergency relief coordinator, is extremely concerned for the safety of civilians caught in the midst of ” fierce fighting” in Yemen.
While calling on all parties involved to meet their obligations under international law and do their utmost to protect the ordinary women, children and men who are suffering the consequences of the conflict, Amos said reports from humanitarian partners in different parts of the country indicate that some 519 people have been killed and nearly 1,700 injured in the past two weeks. (IANS)