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$274 million needed to help “ordinary families” survive Yemen conflict, says UN

17 Apr 2015

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The conflict has left people “on the brink of survival”, according to UN humanitarian coordinating agency OCHA.

An emergency UN appeal launched Friday for $274 million to help 7.5 million people directly affected by fighting in Yemen.

The conflict now affects 18 of the country’s 22 governorates and the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that ordinary families are struggling to survive.

Serious violations of human rights have also been reported, OCHA said, while the fighting has aggravated the existing humanitarian crisis in the Arabian state where 12 million people are now food insecure.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Fighting and airstrikes in Yemen have left what the UN calls “ordinary families” struggling to find water, food, fuel and health care – the “basic requirements” for their survival.

Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said at least 150,000 people had been forced to flee the fighting and food prices had quadrupled.

“The conflict has now spread throughout the country…airstrikes have affected 18 of the 22 governorates in Yemen, compounding an already dire and protracted humanitarian crisis. So people are already struggling, they are actually on the brink of survival..”

The UN spokesperson said people’s most urgent needs were medical supplies, water, protection and shelter.

There’s also little provision for mass casualties as the conflict intensifies in the south of the country with 731 people killed and more than 2,700 injured from 19 March to 12 April, according to UN data.

In Yemen, Red Cross spokesperson Cedric Schweizer said that the capital Sana’a had been on the receiving end of its “heaviest” airstrikes in the past 24 hours.

And he added that although 50 tonnes of medical aid had been flown in, there was no guarantee of delivering it.

“It is a complicated task with all the fighting on the ground, we need to have some ceasefires to be able to pass with our convoy and we managed to send part of this assistance now and we are still struggling to go to other places to be able to access the hospital…it’s a real challenge in terms of security.”

Amid continuing street fighting in the southern city of Aden, World Health Organization said that damage to mills had created a bread shortage crisis.

And fuel shortages all over the country meant that the agency was struggling to deliver life-saving medicines and health supplies.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1’52”