Fuel shortage rising to perilous levels in Yemen
A severe fuel shortage is threatening aid efforts in Yemen, six weeks into a Saudi bombing campaign against the impoverished country, Press TV reports.
Scarcity of diesel fuel as well as gasoline has also paralyzed the transportation system across Yemen, forcing millions of civilians to travel on foot to reach their destinations.
“My car has been parked here for twelve days. We don’t have any fuel, any diesel or any gas. We are forced to walk. We can’t even travel to work. We even have to walk with our kids and family. We are besieged from land and sea,” a local resident of the capital, Sana’a, told Press TV on Tuesday.
Shortages of fuel have driven many Yemenis to look for alternative ways and turn their gasoline-powered cars into ones running on natural gas.
“First, there was fuel shortage, and I converted my bus into a CNG (compressed natural gas) powered one. Even though it was damaging the engine, I could still work. Now, there is no gas. I can’t work or do anything,” a driver said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that a lack of fuel is preventing aid agencies on the ground from distributing crucial supplies “making the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Yemen even worse.”
“Humanitarian operations will end within days unless fuel supplies are restored,” Ban warned.
Meanwhile, the World Food Program (WFP) said it is in dire need of more than 200,000 liters of fuel to be able to continue distributing food supplies already in its warehouses across Yemen.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has described the current fuel shortage in Yemen as “alarming.”
“After a month of airstrikes and fighting, Yemen’s health system is struggling to cope and there are severe shortages of essential items, especially food and fuel,” the ICRC said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine popular committees backed by Ansarullah fighters and to restore power to the country’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.
On April 21, Riyadh announced the end of the first phase of its military operations, but airstrikes have continued with Saudi bombers targeting different areas across the country in a new phase.
On May 1, the World Health Organization said over 1,244 people lost their lives and 5,044 others were injured in Yemen from March 19 to April 27.
Hundreds of women and children are among the victims, according to the United Nations health agency.