Middle EastSaudi ArabiaYemen

Saudi blockade of Yemen ‘a new crisis’ amid pandemic: Minister

Yemen’s health minister says the ongoing blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia against the war-torn country has created a "new crisis" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Taha al-Mutawakel said on Tuesday that Yemen holds the United Nations responsible for the deteriorating conditions in the impoverished country, and that the world body has failed to take action to alleviate the problem.         

Supported militarily by the US, the UK, and other Western countries, Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, back to power and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The invaders have also enforced an all-out aerial, naval, and land blockade on the impoverished country.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war by the Saudi-led coalition at a time when Yemenis are in desperate need of medical supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

At least 80 percent of the 28 million-strong population is also reliant on aid to survive in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations has warned that Yemen could suffer one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world.

Yemeni authorities have reported 486 reported coronavirus cases and 113 deaths, however, the World Health Organization believes numbers are much higher.

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