The UN Security Council has warned Yemen is in urgent need of a peace accord to avoid “total social, economic and institutional collapse.” However, Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the body’s special envoy for the country says “we are not close” to such an agreement as key parties are unwilling to compromise.
Yemen is in the throes of a humanitarian crisis following years of fighting between pro-government forces and Shia Houthi rebels.
Stephen O’Brien, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator added
“Crisis is not coming. It is not even looming. It is here today on our watch and ordinary people are paying the price. What is worse is the threat of famine is driven and exacerbated by conflict. Yemen is not facing a drought. If there was no conflict in Yemen there would be no descent into famine, misery, disease and death.”
It comes as a quarter of the population find themselves on the brink of famine, a cholera outbreak has killed at least 500 people and a further 150,000 fresh cases are expected by November.
The UN is negotiating to stop the conflict from spreading to the port city of Hodeidah, where some 80 percent of Yemen’s food imports arrive. An attack there would, it claims, lead to “a devastating loss of civilian life.”