The situation in the central Yemeni city of Taiz has worsened amid intensified fighting since September, UN reported on 24 November.
200,000 civilians are living under virtual siege and are in dire need of drinking water, food, medical treatment, and other life-saving aid.
“Civilian neighbourhoods, medical facilities and other premises around the city are continually hit by shelling, while checkpoints are preventing people from moving to safer areas and seeking assistance,” UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brian said of the latest situation in Yemen.
“This is unacceptable. I call on all parties to work with the United Nations and other neutral and impartial organizations to urgently facilitate the delivery of life-saving assistance and protection to civilians and the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian workers to Taiz City, without further delay,” he added in a statement.
O’Brian noted that the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, and popular committees are blocking supply routes and continue to obstruct delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid and supplies into the city, while those hospitals that are still functioning are overwhelmed with wounded patients and face severe shortages of doctors and nurses, essential medicines and fuel.
“Despite repeated attempts by UN agencies and our humanitarian partners to negotiate access and reach people, our trucks have remained stuck at checkpoints and only very limited assistance has been allowed in,” he said, voicing alarm at reports that some of the aid has been diverted away from the people it was intended for.
The statement came just days after the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which Mr. O’Brian heads, reported that 21.2 million Yemenis – 82 per cent of the total population – require some kind of assistance to meet their basic needs.
In its 2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview, OCHA noted that since 26 March, health facilities have reported more than 32,200 casualties – many of them civilians.
Demonstrations in front of UN Headquarters in Yemen
On 8 November, Yemeni citizens performed a demonstration against the ongoing Saudi-led coalition military operations in the country, in front of the UN offices in Sana’a.
Amnesty International reported that even though war crimes committed by both fighting sides, the coalition airstrikes causes the most harm. The humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen after the decision of the Arab coalition, to support the exiled Yemeni government is continuing, and Dutch diplomats in the UN asked for an independent war crimes inquiry in Yemen. The inquiry was blocked by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries such as Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates which claimed that a war crimes investigation must be launched by the Yemeni government.