More than 300 days have passed since the beginning of Saudi Arabia-led airstrikes in Yemen targeting Houthi militants. The intensifying situation between the parties has left thousands of civilians dead or injured with many more abducted and displaced.
Ten other countries, including Egypt, have pledged support to Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen. The country’s security status is crucial for Egypt’s Suez Canal as Houthi insurgency has made gains near the Gulf of Aden.
Civilians are suffering a result of the military conflict, according to a United Nations report issued in early January. Nearly 2,800 have been killed amid continued Saudi-coalition airstrikes and Houthis artillery strikes. Meanwhile the humanitarian condition in the city of Taiz worsened as the siege of the city continues.
“We are still unable to fully send aid to the city [of Taiz] due to the siege but there are ongoing talks with the parties of the conflict, the UN, and the Yemeni government to lift it and resolve the situation,” Foreign Relations Director at the UN Human Affairs Office for the MENA Region Iyad Nasr told Daily News Egypt.
“Since the beginning of conflict many citizens moved [to Taiz], fleeing from the turbulent situation in the capital Sana’a, and other Yemeni cities; yet they witnessed the same destiny,” he said.
According to Nasr, all hospitals and food suppliers are closed, which limited civilian access to medicines and supplies. Furthermore media coverage within the besieged city is also limited. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced on Monday that it sent food supplies to Taiz.
“A 12-truck convoy entered the besieged areas of Al Qahira and Al Mudhafer districts on Thursday, carrying 3,000 family food rations, each ration enough to feed a family of six for one month,” the statement said.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) earlier announced a delivery of medical supplies to the besieged city. This was the first time in five months that Taiz received medical supplies. Taiz formerly had 20 hospitals to treat its population of 600,000 people. Now, only six hospitals are partially functioning. Basic healthcare is mainly being provided by medical staff in people’s homes, according to MSF.
Upon his arrival from a visit to Taiz, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said in an official statement, “I have witnessed closely the dire life conditions in Taiz as the city faces scarcity of basic human services”.
He also called on Yemeni officials to respect international human rights laws, to allow humanitarian aid to Taiz, and to stop shelling the city’s infrastructure.
Egypt’s role in the Yemeni conflict has been widely criticised by Houthis, as well as civilians. In November 2015, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with his Yemeni counterpart Abd Rabo Mansur Hadi in Saudi Arabia to review the latest security updates of the Yemen conflict.
“The acknowledgement of a political resolution is in the Yemeni’s people interest; if the war extends it will also complicate the humanitarian crisis among civilians,” Al-Sisi said.
Yemen witnessed rising conflict between Shi’a rebel militants, the Houthis, and the Hadi government since September 2014, when the former attempted to take over the capital Sana’a.