UN 'extremely' concerned over conflict in Yemen

By Faruk Zorlu

ANKARA (AA) – The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Friday said it is "extremely concerned" over escalation of conflict in Yemen’s Al-Hudaydah province.

In a news conference, Shabia Mantoo, a UNHCR spokesperson, said the conflict, clashes, air strikes and shelling in Al-Hudaydah have caused scores of casualties.

Mantoo said a total of 94 people were killed and 95 were injured in October. The infrastructure including health facilities was wracked by the fighting.

UNHCR is also concerned that people — trapped by military operations — are facing difficulty to find a safe place to flee and are unable to access humanitarian supplies and emergency warehouses, which are blocked by the fighting, she noted.

"UNHCR is urgently appealing to parties to the conflict to protect civilians and humanitarian personnel; and to secure humanitarian relief items stored in Al Hudaydah," she added.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

The ongoing violence has destroyed much of Yemen’s infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as one of “the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.