Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe may prove ‘irreversible’, says Norwegian Refugee agency report
In the 17 months since the Saudi regime launched its bombing campaign against Yemen, more than 10,000 people have been killed. The country’s infrastructure has been destroyed resulting in severe shortage of food, clean drinking water and medicines. The Norwegian Refugee Council in a report released August 8 confirms Yemen’s dire straits and warns the catastrophe may prove “irreversible”.
Monday August 08, 2016, 22:37 DST
Twenty one million people in Yemen, or about 80 percent of the country’s total population, are in desperate need of help, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in a report released today.
The NRC report said that nearly 20 million Yemenis do not have access to clean water and some 14 million people lack access to healthcare. This is the direct result of the relentless bombing by the Saudi regime and its Arabian and African allies that launched a vicious assault on the impoverished country in March 2015.
Seventeen months of bombings have destroyed schools, hospitals, factories, people’s homes and heritage sites. Similarly, food storage depots have been bombed and destroyed resulting in seven million people becoming “severely food insecure”.
Three days ago, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the Saudi regime to protect Yemeni children. A large number of those killed in Saudi and allied bombing raids have been children. According to UNICEF, at least 1.7 million children are at risk of severe malnutrition.
Ban’s call came following a confidential UN report presented to the UN Secretary General on August 4 that found Saudi Arabia had deliberately bombed civilian targets in Yemen and killed children during its barbaric military assault on the region’s most impoverished country. In June of this year, Ban backed down after accusing the Saudi regime of war crimes when the Najdi Bedouins threatened to withdraw funding for Palestinian refugees.
The latest UN report compiled by a panel of experts made specific reference to the Saudi bombing of a house in southern Lahij Province on May 25 in which six civilians, including four children, were killed.
“It is almost certain that the civilian house was the deliberate target of the high explosive aircraft bombs,” said the report presented to the UN Security Council on August 4.
The Saudi regime has bombed markets, wedding parties and even people gathered for funeral of those killed in earlier raids. Hospitals and schools have also not been spared in what it claims are places used by Houthi fighters to store weapons. The Houthis have denied such claims as sheer propaganda to cover-up Saudi war crimes.
The Saudi regime and its allies have also imposed sanctions on Yemen as well as laid siege to its harbors preventing delivery of food and medicines. Lack of medicines has also caused the deaths of many people that could otherwise have been saved.
Since the Saudi regime launched its murderous assault on Yemen 17 months ago in a futile bid to reinstall its puppet, Abd Rabbou Manour Hadi back in power, it has killed more than 10,000 people, most of them civilians.
The August 4 UN report stresses that Saudi Arabia and its allies have failed to take precautions and thus violated international humanitarian law while conducting air strikes across Yemen. This could open Saudi rulers to war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court if the UN Security Council were to call upon the ICC to investigate these attacks.
In the meantime, the Norwegian refugee agency secretary general Jan Egeland has warned: “Time is running out before the catastrophe [in Yemen] will be irreversible.”
While it is unlikely that the Saudi regime run by Najdi Bedouins would take any note, even the rest of the world has turned a blind eye to the suffering of the Yemeni people, especially children.