Yemen facing 'triple tragedy' of conflict, cholera, famine, United Nations says

A young Yemeni girl waits among the crush of women lining up to receive free bread at a charity bakery during a severe shortage of food in Sanaa

Middle East Online

The draft report on children and armed conflict echoes similar findings from a year ago when the US -backed coalition was put on a United Nations blacklist for violating child rights.

The "vicious and brutal" war between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and Iran-allied Houthi rebels is frequently conducted with complete disregard for global humanitarian law, Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council at a briefing in NY.

The Yemeni people are suffering a "triple tragedy" as the country is ravaged by a brutal conflict, a cholera outbreak, and the threat of starvation, the United Nations humanitarian chief said Friday.

"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.

O'Brien also called on all the parties in the conflict "to respect global humanitarian and human rights law" by protecting civilians and infrastructure.

A source in the local United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) denied reports of the detention of its employees.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council Friday that Yemen people's suffering has relentlessly intensified.

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, told the Security Council by video link that "it is no secret that there are many merchants of war in Yemen who do not want peace".

Yemen was hit more more airstrikes 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, global humanitarian agencies reported.

The Saudi-led coalition had been named on the blacklist a year ago after the United Nations report blamed it for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen in 2015 and half the attacks on schools and hospital.

Close to 2,000 Yemenis have also died of cholera since April and another 600,000 are expected to contract the infection this year.

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