The humanitarian situation has been growing ever worse in northern Yemen for months, with a Saudi blockade keeping aid out of the only port still controlled by the Shi’ite Houthis. The UN has been trying to get emergency aid into the capital city of Sanaa through the airport, but that seems to be no easier.
The United Nations has attempted to operate two humanitarian routes into Sanaa, but there is no jet fuel available in the Yemeni capital for the humanitarian aid planes to then make the return trip.
Auke Lootsma, the country director of the UN Development Programme in Yemen, said, “We have difficulties obtaining permission from the coalition …. to transport this jet fuel to Sanaa to facilitate these flights,” explaining this to reporters by video-link from Sanaa.
Lootsma also reported an outbreak of meningitis in Yemen, compounding the cholera epidemic and the risk of famine in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The UN warns the situation is increasingly bleak, with no real ability to get vital aid into parts of the country that are afflicted with a huge cholera epidemic, and are now on top of that facing an outbreak on meningitis.
Yemen is a country that imports more than 90 percent of its food in peacetime. And now during war time, the Saudi blockade has had a terrifying impact on Yemen, raising growing concerns from human rights groups that they’re using access food and medicine as weapons of war.