NEW YORK– The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that more than 1,400 people have been killed in six weeks in Yemen.
“300,000 [people] have fled their homes in nearly two months of fighting in the war-torn Gulf nation,” said Johannes van der Klaauw, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the UN official underscored that emergency relief and medical teams are struggling to fly in to scale-up the humanitarian operation to address the needs of increasingly vulnerable Yemenis.
Van der Klaauw has voiced grave concern over reports that “scores” of civilians have been killed and injured amid ongoing fighting in the city of Aden.
“Civilians were reportedly targeted while they were trying to flee to safer areas, having been trapped in Aden with limited or no access to water, food and health care for weeks.”
He said that people in Aden have endured extreme hardship as a result of conflict over the last six weeks and must be able to move to safer areas to seek medical and other assistance.
“Violence towards civilians and aid workers, and attacks on hospitals and other civilian infrastructure, must stop immediately.”
According to the statement, insecurity and lack of fuel have limited access to and delivery of services. Partners report difficulty providing medical services as result of the current security situation and continued airstrikes targeting Haradh, Sa’ada and Sana’a. Food relief partners have reported they have had to suspend assistance in several districts due to lack of fuel.
The top UN relief official for Yemen strongly urged all parties to the conflict to provide safe passage for civilians from areas of conflict and “to observe their duty to protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law.”
“I call on all parties to the conflict to provide rapid, safe and predictable access to all people in need in Yemen,” he added. “As an immediate measure, I repeat my call for a humanitarian pause, to be observed by all parties, to allow civilians to escape conflict areas and access basic services, and to enable humanitarian agencies to provide life-saving assistance.” (PNA/Saba)