YemenHuman RightsMiddle East

Drinking water in Yemen’s Hudaydah contaminated with radioactive substances, heavy metals: Report

The Yemeni Ministry of Water and Environment has warned about drinking water pollution in the country’s strategic coastal province of Hudaydah, raising alarms about the serious health hazards derived from repeated exposure to traces of heavy metals, including lead, mercury, and arsenic.

During a press conference held in the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a on Sunday afternoon, the ministry elaborated on the adverse consequences of the tight Saudi-led blockade on the water and environment sectors of Yemen.

Abdul Karim al-Safiani, deputy director of Yemen’s Water Resources Organization, stated that his organization has discovered high levels of radioactive substances and toxic metals in a number of fresh water resources in Hudaydah province.

He emphasized that the Saudi-led military coalition has destroyed more than 2,995 water facilities, including dams, barriers, pumps, reservoirs, and irrigation systems and networks, since 2015.

Safiani also announced that more than 20 million Yemenis, according to statistics provided by international organizations, do not have access to clean drinking water.

Abdulsalam al-Hakimi, deputy minister of Water and Environment, also said that the damage to Yemen’s water and environment sector as a result of the ongoing Saudi-led aggression and siege is estimated to stand at more than $1.7 billion.

Hakimi stressed that irregular diesel fuel distribution and its high price have forced water pumping systems to decrease their capacity.

He noted that Yemeni authorities have tried to import spare parts to expand national water and sewage treatment networks in light of a UN-sponsored ceasefire, and several water wells and treatment plants have come on stream as a result.

The Saudi-led aggression on Yemen has resulted in a lack of clean drinking water and sanitation services for nearly half of the country’s population.

According to the United Nations, Yemenis are in urgent need of water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance, while access to clean and safe drinking water remains crucial for the good health and survival of a whole nation.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said that Yemen is suffering from the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, as nearly 15.4 million people lack access to safe water and sanitation.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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