Key infrastructure in war-torn Yemen, including water supplies, health services and telecommunications, are on the verge of breaking down due to a major fuel shortage, a United Nations official said Saturday.
“The services still available in the country in terms of health, water, food are quickly disappearing because fuel is no longer being brought into the country,” Johannes van der Klaauw told AFP in Djibouti.
“Without fuel hospitals can’t work, ambulances can’t go out. You can’t have the water system working because water has to be pumped. The telecommunication network risks shutting down. This is all extremely preoccupying. If something is not done in the next few days in terms of bringing fuel and food into the country, Yemen is going to come to a complete stand-still,” he warned.
The official said an arms embargo was also having an impact on the delivery of humanitarian supplies.
“We have the ships which can dock into the ports, we have the aircraft. However, the arms embargo has unintended consequences for humanitarian aid,” he said, adding that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for a “humanitarian pause”.
“We must find a way to have this happen. At least for a couple of days.”
Violence has been spreading across Yemen since Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa last year and effectively removed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The Iran-allied Houthis and soldiers loyal to former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been fighting alongside each other on the Arabian peninsula. A Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes against the Houthis in March.
The World Health Organization reported late last month that 1,080 people had been killed and thousands more injured in fighting in Yemen between March 19 and April 20 alone. Meanwhile, the UN estimates that at least 300,000 people have been displaced by the conflict.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
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