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'Unfathomable pain and suffering' in Yemen

Al Jazeera

United Nations officials have warned that the conflict in the Arab world's poorest nation is intensifying daily, with armed groups expanding, thousands facing the cholera epidemic, and seven million "on the cusp of famine". Speaking before the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN special envoy to Yemen, called on all parties "to act for the sake of peace," saying "excuses are unacceptable...especially when the solutions are in plain sight." "The opportunity to reach peace is not yet lost," he said, urging the political leaders to recognise that "the continuation of the war can only lead to more human and physical loss". In the same meeting, UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien said the warring parties and their outside backers should feel "deeply guilty" at driving a worsening conflict that has exposed millions of Yemeni civilians "to unfathomable pain and suffering", including seven million people now "on the cusp of famine." He urged the Security Council to "lean much more heavily and effectively on the parties, and those outside Yemen who are leading this policy and action."


UN demands more humanitarian access to Yemen

Al Jazeera

The United Nations on Friday demanded that all parties in war-torn Yemen grant civilian and commercial access to the country's ports and airports. "Today, millions of people in Yemen are facing a triple tragedy: the spectre of famine, the world's largest ever single-year cholera outbreak, and the daily deprivation and injustice of a brutal conflict that the world is allowing to drag on and on," said Stephen O'Brien, the under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs. "I renew my call ... to address the following points: ensure that all ports - land, sea and air - are open to civilian - including commercial - traffic," O'Brien said, adding that the airport in the capital Sanaa should be opened "immediately" to humanitarian aid. READ MORE: Satirical shows lighten the mood amid Yemen's war The airport is held by the rebel Houthi fighters who also control the rest of the capital, but airspace over Yemen is dominated by the rival Saudi-led Arab coalition, which is helping the Yemeni government fight the Iran-linked Shia rebels. O'Brien also called on all the parties in the conflict "to respect international humanitarian and human rights law" by protecting civilians and infrastructure.


Yemen facing 'total collapse' as fighting continues, UN warns

BBC News

The United Nation's top humanitarian co-ordinator has said Yemen is facing "total social, economic and institutional collapse." Stephen O'Brien was speaking directly to the UN Security Council, telling them "urgent action is required". Yemen is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, with almost seven million people on the brink of famine. An outbreak of cholera has also killed 500 people, and the UN expects 150,000 cases in the next six months. Mr O'Brien said the suffering of Yemenis was not a coincidence, or the "result of forces beyond our control" - but rather the fault of those involved and inaction by world powers.


Heartbroken Guterres seeks 'resurrection' of Yemen peace talks, says Islamophobia fueling terrorism

The Japan Times

RIYADH – A heartbroken United Nations chief on Sunday called for the "resurrection" of peace talks between Yemen's warring sides to end the suffering of civilians. Thousands of people have died in Yemen and millions are struggling to feed themselves almost two years after a Saudi-led coalition intervened to support Yemen's government and halt an advance by rebels. Seven cease-fires brokered between government and rebel forces by the United Nations have failed, while U.N.-backed peace talks have repeatedly broken down. "You know, I am a Catholic. And Catholics believe in resurrection," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters during a visit to the Saudi capital.


Yemen regime vows to wrest vital aid port of Hodeidah out of Houthi hands, give it to neutral party

The Japan Times

CAIRO – The Saudi-backed Yemeni government will not allow its Houthi foes to keep the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, the information minister said, underlining its intention to remove the vital aid delivery point from the control of the Iran-aligned group. The United Nations has proposed that Hodeidah, where 80 percent of food imports arrive, should be handed to a neutral party, to smooth the flow of humanitarian relief and prevent the port being engulfed by Yemen's two-year-old war. The government of President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi accuses the Houthis of using the port to smuggle in weapons and of collecting custom duties on goods, which they use to finance the war. "The government will not accept that Houthi control of Hodeidah port continues, or that humanitarian aid is obstructed or that its revenues are used for the military effort while state employees have not been paid for 10 months," the minister, Muammar al-Iryani, told Reuters on a visit to Cairo. Iryani repeated that the government had accepted a proposal by the U.N. envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to hand over control of Hodeidah to a neutral party as a way of avoiding military action.