GENEVA, Nov 21 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Sana’a and al-Bayda have joined the list of Yemen cities without clean water due to lack of fuel for pumping stations, following a blockade imposed two weeks ago by a Saudi-led coalition, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

Some 2.5 million Yemenis now lack access to clean water in crowded cities, “putting them at risk of another major outbreak of water-borne disease”, ICRC spokeswoman Iolanda Jaquemet said.

“The water and sewage systems in Dhamar and Amaran are now providing only half the normal coverage,” she added.

On Friday, the ICRC said that three cities – Saada, Taiz and Hodeidah – had run out of clean water because the blockade had cut imports of fuel needed for pumping and sanitation.

Earlier, three United Nations agencies have issued an urgent appeal for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen to fully lift its blockade of the country.

The World Health Programme, World Food Programme and Unicef said the reopening of government-controlled air and sea ports this week was not sufficient.

The coalition, which is supporting the Yemeni government in its war with the rebel Houthi movement, tightened its two-year blockade of Yemen’s borders on Nov 6 in response to a ballistic missile attack on the Saudi capital Riyadh.

On Monday Nov 13, Saudi diplomats announced that the restrictions would be lifted partially, with air and sea ports in areas under government control reopening.

On Thursday Nov 17, the directors of the WHO, WFP and Unicef issued a joint statement urging the coalition to immediately permit the delivery of life-saving supplies, warning, “Without them, untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die.”

Even with a partial lifting of the blockade, the WFP estimates, an additional 3.2 million will be pushed into hunger and if left untreated, 150,000 children could die within the coming months.

More than 8,670 people – 60% of them civilians – have also been killed and 49,960 injured in fighting on the ground and air strikes since the coalition intervened in the war in March 2015, according to the UN.



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