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'Shocking silence' surrounds situation in Yemen, IRC tells euronews

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By Sarah Taylor
'Shocking silence' surrounds situation in Yemen, IRC tells euronews
Copyright  Courtesy: IRC, Yemen

“The silence around what’s going on in Yemen right now is quite frankly shocking”, Paolo Cernuschi told euronews.

The Country Director for the International Rescue Committee in Yemen added that humanitarian aid alone cannot resolve the crisis in the country. His comments came amid reports the Saudi-led coalition is allowing some aid workers to fly into the Houthi-controlled capital Sana'a, but is still refusing to allow ships with wheat and medical supplies to dock in Yemen's ports.

But Cernuschi said international political intervention is needed, with efforts from key governments to facilitate a political resolution to more than two years of conflict.

"Humanitarian aid alone cannot reolve the issue in Yemen right now. It cannot meet all the needs of the Yemeni population. Humanitarian aid accounts for 20-25 percent of food imports into the country. The remaining 75-80 percent still need to come in through commercial means. So, if the ports do not re-open across the board for humanitarian and commercial shipments, we really are looking at a catastrophic deterioration of the situation and creating a humanitarian crisis of proportions that I think we've not seen in our lifetimes", he said.

He confirmed shipments of drugs and vaccines are stuck and said fuel shortages are rife in the civil-war-torn country. The knock-on effect, he said, is huge difficulties moving around equipment such as generators and water pumps needed to keep hospitals running and cholera at bay.

The UN has released a report stating that the biggest fuel importing companies in Yemen have indicated they will no longer be able to supply consumers as early as the end of the week (November 26). Petrol and diesel supplies are expected to be exhausted within a week.

The US-backed Saudi coalition says the ports have been closed to prevent to prevent arms from Iran being transported to the Houthi rebels.

But aid workers say some seven million people are facing famine, cholera and other humanitarian threats if supplies are not allowed through soon.

Interview conducted by Tokunbo Salako.

Journalist • Sarah Taylor