Yemen crisis a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

It’s been just more than two months since a Saudi Arabia-led coalition began its airstrike campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the country has since become a “humanitarian catastrophe,” experts said this week.

“I am shocked about what I have seen,” said Medecins Sans Frontieres’ Middle East Operations Manager Pablo Marco, who spent 50 days inside the country recently. “The biggest problem is the fact both parties in the conflict are not respecting the civilians and, specifically, they are not respecting medical facilities and medical staff.”

The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that more than 2,000 people have been killed and more than 8,000 injured in the conflict since airstrikes began, and that 8.6 million people are in urgent need of medical help.

U.S. State Department press director Jeff Rathke said that the U.S. has urged “Saudi and other authorities to continue to allow commercial shipments of fuel and food to avert a humanitarian crisis for the 16 million Yemenis in need of assistance.”

Dozens of hospitals have had to shut down inside the country, and nearly all that are still operating are powered by generators. “We are witnessing how the whole health system in the country is literally coming to a halt,” Marco said. “In a matter of 15 days or two weeks there will be hundreds of people who will be dying from this.”

[ABC News]

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