Oxfam Urges UK To Do More To End Siege In Yemen
Following 1,000 days of intense conflict, Yemen is on the brink of famine which is being compounded by its critical Northern ports which are being blockaded. According to Oxfam the result is people are starving and being deprived of fuel and medicine as well. Yemen has been forced to import as much as 90 per cent of its food requirements since a coalition led by Saudi Arabia began to blockade the country’s Northern ports more than a month ago. Presently the country is only able to obtain about 30 per cent of the food it needs which means that more than 8 million people are at risk of famine.
The food shortage has pushed prices up by almost a third since November last year making it increasingly unaffordable for poor families who are already reeling from the economy’s collapse. A shortage of fuel has resulted in clean water supplies to towns and cities being disrupted and that is a serious problem considering the fact that Yemen is already suffering from the world’s largest outbreak of cholera. Hospitals lack medicine to treat the illness and cases of diphtheria are on the rise. It is estimated that at least a million children are at risk.
Siege tactics lack humanity
Mark Goldring Chief Executive of Oxfam says the Saudi led coalition is using medieval siege tactics of mass starvation as a weapon of war. Depriving people of food, fuel and medicine is never justified and should not be tolerated. Expressing his disgust Mr Goldring said this kind of tactic lacks any sense of morality, decency and humanity. Mr Goldring says the UK must use its position on the UN Security Council to make a difference and encourage collective action to end the blockage and fighting. Oxfam says that everyone involved in the conflict are responsible for violations of International Humanitarian Law.
Since the beginning of November, no fuel has been allowed to enter into Yemen through the country’s main ports which means food supplies and other important goods are unable to be distributed throughout the country. Approximately 80 per cent of all of Yemen’s imports flow through two main ports which serve about two thirds of the country’s population. In 2016 these two ports were responsible for handling about 85% of all wheat grain imports.
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