U.N. warns if no Yemen aid access, world will see largest famine in decades
United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock warned on Wednesday that if a Saudi-led military coalition did not allow humanitarian aid access to Yemen then it would cause “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims,” APA reports quoting Reuters
The Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Houthi movement in neighboring Yemen said on Monday it had closed all air, land and sea ports to the Arabian Peninsula country to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran.
The move, which follows the interception of a missile fired toward the Saudi capital Riyadh on Saturday, is likely to worsen a humanitarian crisis in Yemen that according to the United Nations has pushed some seven million people to the brink of famine and left nearly 900,000 infected with cholera.
Lowcock, who visited Yemen late last month, briefed the U.N. Security Council behind closed doors at the request of Sweden.
“I have told the council that unless those measures are lifted ... there will be a famine in Yemen,” he told reporters. “It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims.”
He said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir earlier on Wednesday and called for an immediate resumption of humanitarian access.
Lowcock said the U.N.’s World Food Programme was feeding seven million people a month in Yemen. “What we need is a winding down of the blockade ... so that we can save the lives of those people,” he said.
The U.N. Security Council expressed concern about the humanitarian situation, Italian U.N. Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, council president for November, said after Lowcock’s briefing.
“The members of the Security Council emphasized ... the importance of keeping all Yemen’s ports and airports functioning, including Hodeidah port, as a critical lifeline for humanitarian support and other essential supplies,” Cardi said.
The United Nations and international aid organizations have long criticized the coalition for blocking aid access, especially to north Yemen, which is held by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.
“Humanitarian access through the ports was inadequate even before the measures that were announced on the 6th November,” said Lowcock, adding that there had also been no U.N. flights allowed into Yemen since Monday.
The Saudi-led coalition has been targeting the Houthis since they seized parts of Yemen in 2015, including the capital Sanaa, forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee.
Lowcock called for an immediate resumption of U.N. and other aid flights to Sanaa and Aden, assurances from the coalition that there would be no further disruptions to those flights, and immediate resumption of humanitarian and commercial port access.
He also called for the coalition to allow a WFP ship to be pre-positioned off Aden and assurances that there would be no further disruption to its functions and demanded that all vessels that have passed U.N. inspection be allowed to offload.
Related news releases
- 18.11.20179 injured in large fire atop 6-story apartment building in New York
- 18.11.2017Argentine submarine goes missing for two days, major search op underway
- 18.11.2017Canada, Mexico try more flexibility as key NAFTA round opens
- 17.11.2017US official: If Turkey buys Russian systems, they can’t plug into NATO tech
- 17.11.2017Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab escapes knife attack in U.S. prison
- 17.11.2017Canadian senator dies on parliamentary trip in Colombia
- 17.11.2017South Dakota Keystone pipeline shut down after oil spill
- 17.11.2017UN Security Council rejects Russian draft on Syria chemical probe
- 17.11.2017The impeachment of President Donald Trump has officially begun
- 17.11.2017Fed's Williams calls for global rethink of monetary policy
- 17.11.2017US House passes tax reform bill, sends measure to Senate
- 16.11.2017Trump urges U.N. council to renew Syria chemical arms inquiry
- 16.11.2017More worries in Congress over cuts at U.S. State Department
- 16.11.2017US Democrats enter new articles to impeach Trump
- 15.11.2017Planned talks between Venezuelan opposition, government will not take place
- 15.11.2017U.S. security officials arrive in Israel to discuss Syria agreement
- 15.11.2017US FDA approves first 'digital pill'
- 15.11.2017Death toll as a result of a gunman in California fired at school reached - UPDATED
- 15.11.2017De Mistura: Putin, Trump create qualitatively new situation in Syrian settlement
- 14.11.2017At least 3 dead in California school shooting, shooter killed by police
- 14.11.2017Trump vows free and open Indo-Pacific region
- 14.11.2017US Army lifts ban on recruits with mental health history
- 12.11.2017Six people killed in bus-hearse crash in Mexico
- 12.11.2017Geneva talks should be the only platform for Syrian settlement - State Department
- 12.11.2017Mass graves discovered near Hawija in Iraq
- 12.11.2017Venezuela sets high-profile location for Monday debt talks
- 11.11.2017APEC ministers publish joint statement after wrangling over language
- 11.11.2017Oil prices slide after U.S. drillers add rigs
- 10.11.2017Colombia 'committed' to deal with FARC
- 10.11.2017Turkish premier urges US to extradite FETO leader
- 10.11.2017State Dept. denies report top envoys being depleted
- 08.11.2017Twitter rolls out 280-character tweets to most users
- 08.11.2017Texas shooting: Gunman 'escaped mental hospital in 2012'
- 08.11.2017US Navy’s next-gen ballistic missile submarines just got cheaper
- 07.11.2017House Republicans seek U.S. tax vote next week; Fitch warns on deficit
- 07.11.2017Senate banking panel backs new North Korea sanctions
- 07.11.2017Trump requests over $5bln extra defense spending for North Korea, Afghanistan
- 05.11.2017US senator Rand Paul assaulted at home in Kentucky
- 04.11.2017U.S. warns of threat to diplomatic staff in Somali capital
- 04.11.2017Twitter responds after Trump’s account deactivated
- 09.11.2017US lawmakers renew gun control bid after Texas shooting
- 09.11.2017Turkish premier, US vice president meet at White House
- 09.11.2017US imposes sanctions on Venezuela: Senior gov't officials on the list
- 09.11.2017Trump to talk trade and North Korea with Chinese leader Xi
- 09.11.2017US tightens restrictions on travel to Cuba
- 08.11.2017US blames Iran for missile attack on Saudi airport