Al-Sabah Al-Yemeni | follow up |
Yemen suffered more air strikes in the first half of this year than in the whole of 2016, increasing the number of civilian deaths and forcing more people to flee their homes, a United Nations report has found.
The number of air strikes in the first six months of 2017 totaled 5,676, according to the report by the Protection Cluster in Yemen, which is led by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees UNHCR.
The total number of air strikes in 2016 was reportedly 3,936.
“We are concerned by the increasing impact on the civilian population, particularly in terms of civilian casualties, fresh displacement and deteriorating conditions,” UNHCR spokesperson for Yemen Shabia Mantoo said.
A US- and UK-backed Saudi coalition conducts the vast majority of air strikes on Yemen.
Access to Yemen, classified as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, is heavily restricted and for the past year its main airport has been forced shut by the coalition.
The war has destroyed much Yemeni infrastructure, including the main Hodeidah port, as well as hospitals, schools and roads, pushing the country to the verge of famine and causing a cholera epidemic that has killed some 2,000 people since April.
Meanwhile, new research from the NGO Oxfam has found that the cholera crisis in Yemen is so bad, families are now being forced to choose between paying for medical care or putting food on their tables.
Shane Stevenson, Oxfam’s country director in Yemen, said millions of people were struggling to buy enough to eat, and those who were then hit by cholera were only able to afford the costs of transportation, medicine and doctors fees by further reducing the amount of food they bought.
“Each day that passes brings more suffering to the already unbearable lives of the Yemeni people,” Mr Stevenson said.
“The world is shamefully failing them. This new crisis, on top of the war, is leading to a man-made catastrophe in Yemen and thousands of people face stark live or die choices every day.