Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O'Brien - Statement on Yemen [EN/AR]


I am deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation for people living in the central Yemeni city of Taizz. Since September fighting has intensified there, and some 200,000 vulnerable civilians are living under a virtual state of siege, in dire need of drinking water, food, medical treatment, and other life-saving assistance and protection.

Civilian neighbourhoods, medical facilities and other premises around the city are continually hit by shelling, while checkpoints are preventing people from moving to safer areas and seeking assistance.

Al-Houthi and popular committees are blocking supply routes and continue to obstruct the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid and supplies into Taizz City. Those hospitals that are still functioning are overwhelmed with wounded patients and face severe shortages of doctors and nurses, essential medicines and fuel.

Despite repeated attempts by UN agencies and our humanitarian partners to negotiate access and reach people, our trucks have remained stuck at checkpoints and only very limited assistance has been allowed in. I am also alarmed by reports that some of the aid destined for Taizz City has been diverted away from the people it was intended for.

This is unacceptable. I call on all parties to work with the United Nations and other neutral and impartial organizations to urgently facilitate the delivery of life-saving assistance and protection to civilians and the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian workers to Taizz City, without further delay.

Thousands of families are living in fear and without basic aid in other locations across Yemen. It is vital that all parties in this conflict do their utmost to protect all civilians. People must not be denied life-saving help. The international community must hold all parties who violate humanitarian and human rights law to account.

24 November 2015 New York


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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