Warplanes have not stopped their bombing campaign of Yemeni rebels despite a 6-day truce declared by the UN. Aid organizations have warned that this turn of events prevents much-need aid from reaching civilians.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "very much disappointed" as Saudi-led warplanes continued their bombing campaign of Yemeni rebels on Monday evening despite a UN-declared ceasefire that went in effect just before midnight on Friday and was supposed to last until the end of Ramadan.
According to Ban's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief was "very much disappointed that the humanitarian pause did not take hold over the weekend," but said that the international body had not "lost hope and discussions are ongoing."
The coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which supports ousted President President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, flouted the truce by hitting rebel targets in the south of the country while on the ground the Iran-backed Shiite rebels and their allies clashed with pro-government forces. The coalition excused its continued bombardment by saying they had received no directive from Hadi to cease the campaign.
Saudi blockade preventing aid delivery
International aid organization Oxfam also expressed its dismay at the continuation of hostilities, saying that the proposed six-day truce was a much-need window for the delivery of supplies like fuel, food, water, and health services to Yemeni civilians in desperate need.
"In Yemen, fuel is critical," read a statement from Phillipe Clerc, the Oxfam country director for Yemen. "Without adequate supplies of it, water pumps no longer operate, and the limited quantities of food and medicine in Yemen's main ports and warehouses spoil, as they can't be transported to the 21 million people in need of aid."
Since March, when the fighting between the Houthi rebel movement and Hadi supporters intensified, only one fifth of the fuel the country needs has been able to get in, putting further strain on food and water supplies. Before the outbreak of fighting, Yemen received most of its fuel and 90 percent of its food via imports brought by sea, but Saudi Arabia has led a blockade of Yemeni ports in hopes to cut off supplies to rebels.
Oxfam warned that if the situation does not improve quickly, 400,000 children are at risk of becoming severly malnourished.
The fighting has claimed 3,000 lives already, displacing some 1.2 million people.
es/msh (AFP, Reuters)