Spotlight: Amid War, Yemen Struggles With Acute Humanitarian Crisis, Gloomy Future

by Fuad Rajeh

SANAA, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Like Most of Yemenis affected by the longest, bloodiest and most destructive war, Abdullah Al-Sharaby is seeking refuge in a completely burning and desperate country.

After his 18-year son, Mohammad, was diagnosed of a strange illness, and his house was destroyed in a rocket attack, Al-Sharaby fled to capital Sanaa this week amid expanding battles in and merciless blockade on Taiz.

"I have fled the raging war and the blockade that have left Taiz in a sure need of everything. I am aware, war is everywhere and Sanaa may see violence anytime amid battles in the outskirts, but I had no option except seeking refuge in a place which it is safer at least now," he said.

Mohammad's brown skin became quite white after the rocket landed and exploded not far from him while walking at debris of their house lately.

The family has no resources of income and its arrival in Sanaa does not mean that their problem is finished.

As the war rages, the Arab nation has to struggle with the growing number of the IDPs, which has now reached more than 2.5 million. Most of them face shortage in aid supply.

Abdul Wahab Sharafudin, head of the office of the executive unit of refugee camps in Sanaa, said there are 124,000 IDPs in the capital. "We are continuing to register more displaced people though there is no aid for them," he said.

"Few local relief organizations are making modest interventions as we still don't know why international aid organizations are not helping the displaced in Sanaa," he added.

Yemen has been experiencing a civil conflict since the UN-backed government was ousted by the Houthi militants in late 2014.

The conflict triggered a Saudi-led military intervention in late March which has been deepening the country's suffering.

Around 6,000 people including 2,700 civilians have been killed and thousands of others injured, the UN said.

In addition, Yemeni officials in Sanaa revealed that around 80 percent of the country's infrastructure has been damaged in air raids and ground fighting.

Nearly 300 hospitals and medical centers have been destroyed, damaged and shut down across Yemen, the officials said.

And the UN lately revealed that over 170 schools have been destroyed, and more than 600 damaged, 58 schools occupied by armed groups and nearly 238 being used as shelters for IDPs.

According to the UNICEF, the bombing and increased street fighting across many parts of the country has killed at least 637 children, and injured 927 more as of the end of November.

Moreover, all pubic institutions have been affected as official statements estimated the country's losses at six billion dollars, with 2.5 billion losses in agriculture sectors.

The war has also engendered a catastrophic humanitarian situation.

The UN said nearly 82 percent of Yemen's population are crying for basic humanitarian aid.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang lately said some 7.6 million people need emergency food aid to survive and two million are malnourished, including 320,000 acutely malnourished children.

The blockade on Yemen, which was imposed as part of the Arab military operation, boosted the crisis as it has deprived Yemen of all supplies.

As a result, basic services have largely deteriorated due to acute shortages of supplies primarily medicines, food and fuels.

Around 14 million people lack access to health care and 19 million lack access to safe water, according to the UN. The UNICEF said some six million children may fall prey to deadly diseases like diarrhoea, measles and Polio.

International organizations also have documented attacks on human rights and heritage sites adding to impacts of the war which observers said is finishing the country systemically.

The ongoing war and its previously mentioned impacts are raising concerns abut the country's future.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has urged the Security Council to take action to end the war or Yemen may have to face Balkanization and turn into a safe heaven for terrorist groups.

However, the latest round of UN-backed peace talks on the Yemeni crisis ended earlier last month in the Swiss Capital of Ber without major agreement. The talking parties agreed to convene again later in this month.

"Yemen's peace will only come through diplomatic negotiations," Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told a press conference after the talks in December.

Source : http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-01/01/c_134968926.htm

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