Yemen conflict 'catastrophic' as humanitarian groups call for funding

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The International Committee of the Red Cross says the situation in Yemen is ‘catastrophic’ as they battle to provide about two-thirds of the population with humanitarian aid.

International Committee of the Red Cross says the population of Yemen is suffering without access to much needed supplies.

ICRC Geneva spokesperson, Iolanda Jaquemet, told SBS News, "the situation now in Yemen in is catastrophic".

Two-thirds of the population of 27 million depend on humanitarian aid to some extent, she said.

"The country is dependent on imports at 90 per cent at any given point in time. Right now, less than half the (basic) needs are getting into the country."

Watch: UN raises $1.1 billion for Yemen

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People have lost their income while the prices of basic foods are also spiking as a result of the shortage.

"It means that many people actually cannot afford to put food on the table on a daily basis," she said. 

Houthi rebels and Yemeni government supporters have been fighting in Yemen since September 2014 after the transition from president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011 to his former deputy, now President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

It began in the Saada province, but has since moved south to Aden.

About 8,000 people have been killed and about 42,000 people have been injured. 

Ms Jacquemet said at least 20 people were dying per day from preventable diseases.

"The situation today is dramatic," she said. "We see a very bad situation in terms of health care."

Less than half of the health structures are functioning, partly because they have been directly attacked, but mostly because they have run out of fuel, medical supplies and medicines. Hundreds of them have closed down, according to the ICRC.

"So again people die of common diseases, people die of diabetes because there's not enough insulin."

"There are small infections that get out of hand or chronic disease such as high blood pressure for which there is no medicine."

ICRC staff brought 200,000 viles of insulin into the country last year.

"Which is not something we normally do, we normally work for the war wounded," Ms Jacquemet said.

"The humanitarian community cannot substitute itself through the willingness of the parties to this conflict to respect civilians in the first place, and ultimately to find a political solution to the conflict."

How you can help

International humanitarian services are providing aid to Yemen, including ICRCUNHCRUNICEFSave the ChildrenOxfam and the World Food Programme.

According to media reports, almost 80 percent of Yemen's 24-million population depends on agriculture as the ongoing conflict in the impoverished Arab country has serious effects on food imports.
According to media reports, almost 80 percent of Yemen's 24-million population depends on agriculture.
EPA

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