World must assist families displaced by Saudi war: Yemeni Red Cross
Two years into a bloody Saudi war on Yemen, the Red Crescent Society in the violence-hit country calls on the international community to provide more humanitarian aid to the Yemeni families displaced in the wake of Riyadh’s military campaign.
Head of the Society Hussian Saleh told Press TV on Friday that over 20,000 families are currently in urgent need of basic aid, and food donations are quickly running out amid rising demands to mitigate hunger.
“We call on international organizations to help Yemeni internally displaced people as they cannot meet their basic needs due to the Saudi-imposed blockade and airstrikes on the region. We have been able to provide humanitarian assistance to 500 families, but the figure of families in need is estimated to be much higher,” Saleh pointed out.
The comments come as Yemen will mark on March 26 the second year since the Saudi military, backed by a number of its allies, unleashed a deadly war on the impoverished country to reinstall its former government, a stalwart Riyadh ally.
Local Yemeni sources have put the death toll from the Saudi war at over 12,000, including many women and children.
Meanwhile, Amien Afet, the deputy mayor of Sana’a, said Saudi Arabia is making use of all kinds of internationally-banned weapons, including cluster bombs, in an attempt to uproot all local residents of Nihm district in the capital province of Sana’a.
The remarks came on the same day that the United Nations said a third of Yemen’s 22 provinces are on the brink of famine, warning that more than half of the country’s population is going hungry.
“We are deeply concerned that Yemen is on the brink of famine,” Bettina Luescher, a spokeswoman for the UN’s World Food Programme, told reporters in Geneva on Friday.
“Out of the 22 (provinces), seven are in emergency phase four, and that is one level before declaring a famine,” she said.
Luescher stressed that even the Yemenis that are lucky enough to get aid are not receiving all the nutrients they need as full rations cannot be afforded.
“Lack of funding, the ongoing conflict, restricted movement of humanitarian aid workers are the major obstacles to get food and other assistance to the people,” she said.
Yemen is among the four countries of the world that are currently facing the risk of famine, and more than 20 million are facing starvation in the country, according to the United Nations.
No let-up in Saudi raids
Turning a blind eye to the plight of Yemeni civilians, Saudi warplanes continue to strike residential areas and non-military targets across the Arabian Peninsula state.
In the latest such attacks, at least six people lost their lives and several others sustained injuries when Saudi fighter jets pounded residential neighborhoods across Yemen.
Saudi military aircraft also struck a house in the Majz district of the northwestern province of Sa’ada on Friday afternoon, leaving a man and his son dead. The mother of the family sustained grave injuries in the airstrike, and died on Saturday morning.
Three also lost their lives and as many were injured when Saudi fighter jets struck a market in Sa’ada district.
Yemenis hit back
Meanwhile, Yemeni army soldiers, backed by fighters from allied popular forces, have shot dead three Saudi troopers in the kingdom’s southwestern border regions of Najran and Jizan in response to Riyadh’s aerial bombardment campaign against their country.
Yemeni armed forces targeted a Saudi trooper in the al-Makhrouq military base of Najran early on Saturday, Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported.
Army troops and allied popular forces also launched an attack on the al-Shabakah base of Jizan region late on Friday, killing a Saudi soldier there.
Earlier, a Saudi soldier had been shot dead in Farizeh military base of the same Saudi region, located 969 kilometers south of the capital, Riyadh.