Yemen: US-backed Saudi war worsens crisis

August 26, 2017
Saudi airstrikes have devastated the Yemen city of Sa’ada.

An air strike by the US-backed Saudi-led coalition on a hotel near the Yemeni capital Sanaa killed dozens of people on August 23, multiple news agencies have reported. It came as a humanitarian crisis extended its grip on the impoverished nation.

A local medic estimated the number of those killed at 35, Reuters said. Associated Press reported that the number may be as high as 60, citing officials and witnesses.

Since March 2015, Saudi-led forces backing the Yemeni government have waged a military campaign against Houthi forces, with Britain and the US fuelling the war with millions in arms sales as well as logistical support to Saudi Arabia. The United Nations estimates the conflict has killed more than 10,000 civilians.

Any survivors of the air strike face dim prospects, as the country suffers the largest cholera epidemic in the world — there have been over half a million cases — and faces decimated health infrastructure.

The war, now in its third year, and the cholera epidemic, combined with looming famine, have created a trifecta of horrors for Yemenis. This situation has been made deadlier by Saudi Arabia’s ongoing embargo.

BBC News reported: “[The] blockade imposed on Yemen since 2015 by the Saudi-led coalition has reduced the amount of food, aid and fuel allowed into the country to a trickle.

“The little that does make it in by sea often spends weeks waiting to be offloaded because the cranes at Hudaydah — once Yemen's busiest port — have been bombed beyond use or repair.”

United Nations aid chief Stephen O'Brien recently urged for “all ports — land, sea, and air — [to be ] open to civilian — including commercial — traffic”.

“Each day that passes brings more suffering to the unbearable lives of the Yemeni people,” said Shane Stevenson, Oxfam's Country Director in Yemen. “The world is shamefully failing them.”

[Abridged from Common Dreams.]

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