MSF urges aid access in YemenWed, 15 Feb, 2017
| Posted By: The Times Of Earth (TOE)
Forces loyal to Yemen's president, backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, entered the historic port town of Mokha last month as part of a push to drive Shiite Huthis out of the area (AFP Photo/SALEH AL-OBEIDI)
Doctors Without Borders on Wednesday urged all warring parties in Yemen to allow aid deliveries, saying it had treated more than 55,000 people wounded during a Saudi-led intervention in the country.
"Since the violence escalated in March 2015, MSF has treated... more than 55,000 war-wounded patients across the country," said Djoen Besselink, using the French acronym of the medical charity that he heads in Yemen.
"The warring parties must support aid organisations to reach the people most in need," he told a news conference in Amman.
Yemen's war pits the internationally recognised government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against Huthi rebels allied with forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The fighting escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition began air strikes to help forces loyal to Hadi to take large parts of the country back from the rebels.
The United Nations estimates that more than 7,400 people, including about 1,400 children, have since been killed.
"We call on the international aid organisations and donor governments to -- together with MSF -- ensure that aid is delivered to all in need and increase the humanitarian response where needed," said Besselink.
He also called for ports and airports to be reopened.
The Saudi-led coalition has imposed a marine and air blockade against rebel-held areas.
The UN has called for a truce to allow aid deliveries but UN mediation and seven ceasefires have so far failed.
Besselink said medical services in Yemen had been directly affected by the violence.
"Hospitals have been hit by shelling and gunfire. Four MSF facilities have been hit by air strikes," he said.
Tammam Aloudat, the charity's deputy medical director, said 26 MSF staff had been killed in bombings against medical facilities.
He said many Yemenis suffered from malnutrition, diseases, rising prices, electricity shortages and lack of clean drinking water.
UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien warned last month that Yemen could face famine this year if no immediate action is taken.