Yemen: Coalition Attacks Trap 1000s of Civilians in Hodeidah

70 percent of basic supplies including fuel, medicine, and food transit, through Hodeida, to other parts of the country. For this reason, if the fighting damages the city's infrastructure, the passage of supplies to northern Yemen will be compromised.

The fighting taking place in Hodeidah, a Yemeni port city on the Red Sea, has been the stage of U.S.-backed Saudi and United Arab Emirates coalition attacks, that has endangered — and taken — the lives of thousands of people.

RELATED: Bomb That Killed 40 Children in Yemen Was US-Supplied: Report

According to a CNN report, as many as “300,000” civilians could be confined to Hodeidah as a result of intensified Saudi-led air attacks on the Houthi rebel-held area. “Hodeidah is once again trapped in violence with hundreds of thousands of Yemenis caught in the middle. The upcoming talks cannot be an excuse to disregard the laws of war that protect the lives of the Yemeni people,” Fabrizio Carboni, from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), stated.

“This new attack on Hodeidah is brushing away the hope sparked by the recent announcement of the peace talks,” Carboni added.

United States officials have voiced concern over the situation in recent days, but no concrete action has been taken.

“We’ve got to move towards a peace effort here, and we can’t say we’re going to do it sometime in the future. We’ve admired this problem for long enough down there,” U.S. Secretary of State, Jim Mattis said regarding the situation in Yemen.

“It is time to end this conflict, replace conflict with compromise, and allow the Yemeni people to heal through peace and reconstruction,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added.

However, just last month, Pompeo was heavily criticized for the United States' continued support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed continued U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen over the objections of staff members after being warned that a cut off could jeopardize US$2 billion in weapons sales to America’s Gulf allies, according to a classified memo and people familiar with the decision,” a Wall Street Journal report said.

Hodeidah is a critical area for Yemen, as 70 percent of basic supplies including fuel, medicine, and food transit to other parts of the country. For this reason, if the fighting damages the infrastructure of the port city, the supplies passing to northern Yemen — where the majority of the population lives — could increase human suffering, aid workers told the Washington Post.

In August 2018, United Nations experts shared concerns over the “war crimes by parties to the conflict,” in a report.

“Among their conclusions, the experts say individuals in the Government of Yemen and the coalition, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and in the de facto authorities have committed acts that may, subject to determination by an independent and competent court, amount to international crimes.”

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War-stricken Yemen 'living hell' for all children: UN official

Yemen has turned into a "living hell" for all children with thousands dying every year from malnutrition and easily preventable diseases, a top UN official says as Saudi Arabia presses ahead with its bloodshed and atrocities in the course of its three-and-a-half-year-old war against the impoverished country.

"Yemen is today a living hell -- not for 50 to 60 percent of the children -- it is a living hell for every boy and girl in Yemen," Geert Cappelaere, the regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at UN children's agency UNICEF, told reporters in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Sunday.

He called on the warring parties to join proposed peace talks due to be held later this month and agree to a ceasefire across the conflict-ravaged Yemen.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) warned that more than seven million children are facing a serious threat of famine in Yemen.

 

“Today, 1.8 million children under the age of five are facing acute malnutrition, and 400,000 are affected by severe acute malnutrition,” Cappelaere said late in October 31.

Elsewhere in his Sunday remarks, the UN official said malnutrition leads to the death of 30,000 children each year in Yemen, while one child dies every 10 minutes from easily preventable diseases.

Cappelaere added that the figures were "a reminder for all of us to realize how dire the situation has become."

"We call on all parties to get together later this month under the leadership of the UN special envoy... and agree on a ceasefire and a road to peace for Yemen," he said.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that Yemen is teetering “on a precipice”, appealing to the international community to put an end to the Saudi war on the impoverished nation.

“Yemen today stands on a precipice. On the humanitarian side, the situation is desperate. We must do all we can to prevent the already dire conditions from deteriorating,” said the UN chief in a press conference, adding that the consequences of such a war would be “terrible” for the Yemeni nation.

Leading a coalition of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who resigned amid popular discontent and fled to the Arab kingdom.

Since the onset of the imposed war, the Yemeni army, backed by fighters of the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, has been defending the impoverished nation against the brutal aggression. The coalition, supported by the United States, is also resolute to crush the movement as another goal in its war on Yemen, which is teetering on the edge of famine.

Saudi Arabia has so far achieved none of its objectives in Yemen. Riyadh had declared at the start of the invasion that the war would take no more than a couple of weeks.

According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

A number of Western countries, the United States and Britain in particular, are also accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence.

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UN ‘estimates’ death toll in Yemen war surpassed 10,000

The death toll in the Yemeni conflict has surpassed 10,000 people, according to “estimates” from a senior UN official, amidst the ongoing chaos in the war-torn country suffering a tremendous humanitarian disaster.

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“I don’t know the figures but the estimates are that over 10,000 people have been killed in this conflict and almost 40,000 people injured,” UN Yemen Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick told the reporters at a press conference in Sanaa.

Read more Over 4,000 civilians killed, aid blocked, zero accountability – HRW’s wrap up of Yemen war

A Houthi armed man walks past destroyed houses in the old quarter of the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen January 11, 2017 © Naif Rahma

The estimates seem to be pretty rough, since McGoldrick stated in August last year that “at least 10,000 people” had been killed in the protracted conflict.

Previous estimates voiced by McGoldrick were based on “official information” from medical facilities in Yemen, but now, many areas in the war-ravaged country have no medical facilities left. Both local and internationally-supported hospitals have been struck by Saudi-led coalition planes in numerous incidents often blamed on “mistakes” and “bad intelligence.” The statistics are scarce as the dead are often buried without any official records.

“This is a war of aggression being waged by Saudi Arabia. Civilians are being targeted, they are not simply collateral damage,” Brian Becker, National coordinator of the ANSWER coalition told RT.

While McGoldrick gave no breakdown on civilian casualties, October figures from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), states the conflict has claimed the lives of at least 4,125 civilians and left at least 7,207 wounded, with the majority of the casualties caused by coalition airstrikes.

READ MORE: Over 4,000 civilians killed, aid blocked, zero accountability – HRW’s wrap up of Yemen war

“These people are committing war crimes routinely, systematically against the people of Yemen. This amounts to Holocaust, not just war crimes it’s Holocaust,” Kim Sharif, a human rights lawyer and director of Human Rights for Yemen, told RT.

“There are about 11 million people in this country who need some sort of protection in terms of human rights, to protect their dignity and their safety,” McGoldrick added at the press conference.

Yemen’s population in 2013 was estimated around 25 million people, which means that roughly a half of Yemenis experience problems with human rights’ implementation and thus need “some sort of protection.” Over 21 million people are in urgent need of “humanitarian assistance,” according to UN World Food Program (WFP) statistics.

“And there’s another 2.9 million living in acutely affected areas, who require legal and other types of support. Some of them are related to being displacement, some of it related to gender-based violence,” McGoldrick added.

Read more 'No food, no medicine, no money’: Yemeni town faces mass death by starvation

However, “legal type of support” might be actually not the most urgent need for Yemenis, since 7.6 million people are “severely food insecure” according to UN’s own statistics.

RT’s Arabic-language crew recently visited the district of Tuhayat on the Red Sea coast, one of these “acutely affected areas.” Most people there, including children, are starving, since the Saudi-led international coalition blockaded the coastal area and deprived the locals from fishing, which was their main source of food, coupled with a an absence of medical care.

The new UN revelations documenting the scale of the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Yemen, came as UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, arrived in the southern city of Aden, the temporary capital of the government of president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was reinstated by the Saudi-led intervention.

The UN envoy was expected to present a new peace plan to Hadi on Monday, according to a spokesman. Previous peace efforts failed, since Hadi urged the Houthis rebels to withdraw from all cities and lay down the arms, while the rebels are pressing for a political deal.

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Iran Issues Warning Over Yemen Air Strikes

United Nations, United States:  Iran has told the UN Security Council that Saudi-led air strikes have twice hit close to its embassy in Yemen and warned of "serious consequences" if more such bombings occur.

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