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UN: Yemen’s humanitarian crisis demands immediate cease-fire and humanitarian corridors

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Sana’a (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The United Nations Security Council calls on all parties involved in the conflict in Yemen to “immediately” cease fire and guarantee the opening of all ports into the country. The goal is to ensure that humanitarian aid to an exhausted population has been reduced to starvation by more than two years of conflict, aggravated over the past few weeks by the outbreak of a cholera epidemic that is causing hundreds of victims.

In a note at the end of the meeting that was held yesterday at the Glass Palace, the Council invites Houthi and Shiite rebels and the government recognized by the international community to dialogue in a “flexible and constructive” manner without preconditions. The document, endorsed by all 15 Member States, underlines the importance of keeping all ports, in particular Hodeida, open. It represents “a fundamental still of salvation” for the entry of humanitarian aid.

It is the first UN-issued document in the last 15 months on Yemen, which is in a “disastrous” situation, as recently confirmed to AsiaNews by Mgr. Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of southern Arabia (UAE, Oman and Yemen). The Security Council document is also the first to address directly both sides in the fight to end violence, resume political process and ensure full access to humanitarian aid and international operators.

Analysts and experts point out that the unity reached yesterday at the UN, considering the different positions and divergent interests of regional and international powers on Yemen, show the level of concern for the country’s fate. An alarm justified by the “humanitarian disaster” underway and likely to worsen in the event of a continuing conflict.

Since January 2015, the Gulf nation is the scene of a bloody internal conflict that sees the Sunni leadership of Since January 2015, Yemen has been fought over in a bloody civil war pitting the country’s predominantly Sunni leadership, led by former President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by Saudi Arabia, and Shia Houthi rebels, close to Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led Arab coalition began carrying out air strikes against the rebels, which the United Nations criticised because of the civilian casualties they provoked, including children.

So far, more than 8,000 people have died, more than 44,000 injured and 3 million displaced.

The United Nations Security Council note came a few hours after the latest alarm sounded by UN Humanitarian Affairs Officer in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick about the cholera epidemic. The risk, the expert adds, is that with the arrival of the summer the emergency may worsen. According to the latest estimates, 923 people have died so far, and suspected cases have exceeded 124,000. The numbers could double by the end of September.

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