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Yemen on the brink of catastrophe, Oxfam report finds

This news post is almost 8 years old

Charity finds millions of people in the war-torn country are desperately in need of aid.

Yemen has been pushed to the brink of catastrophe by 18 months of war, according to a report from Oxfam.

The charity found thousands of civilians had been killed in the conflict while millions more were desperately in need of aid.

In a survey of 1,000 displaced Yemeni people, three-quarters said that they had been driven from their homes by airstrikes with one in five saying their dwellings had been destroyed.

Unable to return home, millions of people are now facing unemployment, mounting debt and high food prices.

Almost two-thirds of those surveyed told Oxfam that close family members had died or had been injured as a result of the conflict.

The world cannot continue to turn a blind eye as the most vulnerable continue to pay the highest price in this brutal conflict

The charity said since the war began in March 2015 over 3,799 civilians have been killed and 6,711 injured by air and artillery strikes

Oxfam is now calling on all parties to the conflict to reach a political solution to stop the violence and put an end to the bloodshed.

Sajjad Mohamed Sajid, the charity’s director in Yemen, said: “Eighteen months of war has destroyed the lives of millions of Yemenis. Twenty million people are in need of aid for survival and half the country goes to bed hungry every night.

“The world cannot continue to turn a blind eye as the most vulnerable continue to pay the highest price in this brutal conflict.

“World powers need to focus their efforts to pushing for and supporting peace, and provide immediate humanitarian aid to help the millions of people on the edge of starvation.”

The report found that Yemeni who try to return home find unexploded ordinances and destroyed schools, factories and health centres, making it almost impossible for them to rebuild their lives. One in four companies have been forced to close due to the war and 70 percent of the workforce has been laid off.

In total, the conflict has caused $7 billion of damage and over $12bn in economic losses.

Levels of crime and social unrest were also found to be rising, with many men joining armed groups and girls increasingly being forced into marriage.

Oxfam has previously criticised the UK government for exporting arms to Saudi Arabia, which is leading the coalition against Houthi insurgents in its neighbouring country.

Despite international condemnation and reports of UK-built weapons being used in strikes against civilians in Yemen, British arms sales to Saudi Arabia jumped from £9 million to £1bn over three months in 2015.

The UK has also provided military advisors and targeting support to the coalition.

Oxfam’s report follows a briefing from the UN’s Human Rights Council last month which listed numerous allegations of serious breaches of international law in Yemen since the conflict began.

These included attacks on residential areas, marketplaces, medical and educational facilities, the use of landmines and cluster bombs, sniper attacks against civilians and the use of child soldiers.

Calling for an end to hostilities, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said: “Civilians in Yemen have suffered unbearably over the years from the effects of a number of simultaneous and overlapping armed conflicts.

“And they continue to suffer, absent from any form of accountability and justice, while those responsible for the violations and abuses against them enjoy impunity. Such a manifestly, protractedly unjust situation must no longer be tolerated by the international community."