UN aid chief calls for humanitarian access in Yemen

Sanaa/United Ntions, Oct 5 (IANS) The UN humanitarian aid chief Stephen O’Brien, concluded his three-day visit to Yemen on Tuesday, calling for all parties to grant humanitarian access to protect civilians in a conflict that has spread chaos in the country.

Relevant parties should be also held accountable for shattering infrastructure, and destroying livelihoods in a country which was already suffering from endemic poverty, Xinhua news agency quoted deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq.

On Monday, O’Brien went to Al Honood and saw the devastation and terrible losses suffered from the airstrike on September 21, Haq said.

At least 10 civilians, including six children were killed and 17 others wounded on Monday afternoon after an artillery shell struck a busy street next to a market in in Taiz, Yemen he said.

The overall casualty figures verified by UN human rights staff in Yemen from March 2015 up until September 30, 2016 stand at a total of 10,963 civilian casualties, including 4,014 people killed, he added.

Meanwhile, dozens of emaciated children are fighting for their lives in Yemen’s hospital wards creating fears of a famine due to the civil war and a sea blockade that has lasted for months.

“It is of course absolutely devastating when you see such terrible malnutrition,” The Guardian quoted O’Brien as saying on Tuesday.

More than half of Yemen’s 28 million people are already short of food, the UN has said, and children are particularly badly hit, with hundreds of thousands at risk of starvation.

The Yemeni Civil War which began in 2015, is an ongoing conflict between Houthi forces controlling the capital Sanaa and forces loyal to the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.