KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Nov 18 (NNN-Bernama) — With imports of fuel and other essential goods at a standstill for the past 10 days, three Yemeni cities had to stop providing clean water in recent days, putting close to one million people at risk of a renewed cholera outbreak and other water-borne diseases, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

“The water and sewage systems in Hodeida, Saada and Taiz stopped operating because of a lack of fuel”, ICRC head of delegation in Yemen, Alexandre Faite said in a statement here yesterday.

“As a result, close to one million people are now deprived of clean water and sanitation in crowded urban environments in a country slowly emerging from the worst cholera outbreak in modern times,” he said.

Other major urban centres, including Sanaa, will find themselves in the same situation in two weeks unless imports of essential goods resume immediately.

Yemen’s land borders, as well as major seaports and airports, were closed on Nov 6. Despite the recent reopening of the Aden port and airport, humanitarian shipments do not reach the majority of key urban centres, such as Sanaa and Taiz.

Yemen, a country of 27 million people, depends on imports for 90 per cent of its needs, including food, medicines and fuel.

Faite said hospitals, clinics and emergency medical services are powered by generators which will soon also run out of fuel, while Yemen’s health structures, which have been close to the brink for months, now risk collapsing altogether.

“This comes at a time when increased fighting throughout the country result in rising numbers of wounded people. Our own stocks of medical supplies are dwindling, and we risk soon being unable to provide critical support to dozens of health facilities,” he added.

ICRC said dozens of humanitarian staff, including members of our surgical teams, have not been able to return to their work in Yemen.

ICRC also renews its urgent call to immediately allow the flow of essential goods into Yemen, and reopen Sanaa airport for humanitarian flights.



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