Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
Medicine | By Rogelio Lindsey

War in Yemen causing starvation, cholera — United Nations aid chief

War in Yemen causing starvation, cholera — United Nations aid chief

"Today, millions of people in Yemen are facing a triple tragedy: the specter of starvation, the world's largest ever single-year cholera outbreak, and the daily deprivation and injustice of a brutal conflict that the world is allowing to drag on and on", said Stephen O'Brien, the under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs.

Warning about escalating suffering in Yemen's man-made catastrophe, senior United Nations officials on Friday addressed the Security Council, calling on the global community to push for a political solution to the more than two-year-old conflict.

Yemen, which is on the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, has been engulfed in civil war since September 2014, when Houthi rebels swept into the capital Sanaa and overthrew President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's internationally recognised government.

"The United Nations was informed of measures taken by the coalition in 2016 to reduce the impact of conflict on children", according to the draft report.

O'Brien called for the opening of all ports, including land, sea and air, to civilian traffic to allow in aid, as well as for parties to the conflict to respect worldwide human and human rights law.

O'Brien also called on all the parties in the conflict "to respect worldwide humanitarian and human rights law" by protecting civilians and infrastructure.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council Friday that Yemen people's suffering has relentlessly intensified.

"The longer the conflict goes on, the higher the risk that terrorist groups will spread and the stronger their influence will become", U.N. Yemen mediator Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed warned the Security Council.

O'Brien also pointed to air strikes for adding to the civilian death toll. O'Brien said monthly air strikes in 2017 had tripled from past year, while monthly reports of armed clashes were up 50 percent.

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.

Close to 2,000 Yemenis have also died of cholera since April and another 600,000 are expected to contract the infection this year.

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