Red Cross Official Asks World Not to Shift Attention From Yemen, Other Nations in War - Report

© REUTERS / KHALED ABDULLAHA worker jumps as he loads sacks of wheat flour on a motorcycle outside a wholesale food shop in Sanaa, Yemen February 28, 2022
A worker jumps as he loads sacks of wheat flour on a motorcycle outside a wholesale food shop in Sanaa, Yemen February 28, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.03.2022
Yemeni government forces and the militant Houthi opposition faction have been at war for over six years. In 2015, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE entered the conflict to back the Yemeni government in exile and began conducting air, land, and sea attacks against the Islamist political movement.
Katharina Ritz, a Red Cross official, has warned that the world must not forget Yemen and other war-torn countries in the wake of a current humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Ritz, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Yemen, said the country is still in desperate need of aid as the violent conflict between the Yemeni government and the armed Houthi political opposition faction continues.

"I think our duty is to respond equally to the needs and do our best,” Ritz is quoted as saying in Friday's report. “I think it’s not about is it Ukraine or not? Now it’s Ukraine and Yemen and Syria and Iraq and Congo and so on. ... We have to add Ukraine on all the crises, but we shouldn’t shift."

According to numerous experts and media reports, Yemen, the poorest nation in the Middle East, has been on the verge of famine, and the crisis could be aggravated by supply chain disruptions due to the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine. Yemen gets about 40% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, according to the report.
The United Nations food agency reported late last month that 13 million people in Yemen are suffering starvation as a result of the country's prolonged conflict.
“Now obviously, we have the wheat supply, which will have an impact on the food supply for Yemen,” Ritz said. “The coping mechanism in the country is very limited, and I think that is going to be a major struggle.”
The official noted that in the meantime, the Red Cross has been regularly granted access to captives imprisoned by militias, the Houthi-controlled government in Sanaa, and the Yemeni government in Aden.
The warring parties reportedly orchestrated a large-scale prisoner swap in 2020, but there has not been another since. The sides agreed to transfer nearly 15,000 convicts in a 2018 agreement in Stockholm.
“The dialogue between the parties is ongoing. The negotiation has never stopped,” she underscored. “I think it is an important part also to keep the parties on the table engaged.”
Ritz stressed that the organization worked with the Saudi-led military coalition, the Houthis, and other factions in the war to emphasize the need of protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure. At the same time, the official pointed out that responsibility for civilian casualties rests with the belligerents.
"The responsibility remains with the parties of the conflict," Ritz said. "No matter what ICRC says or does not say or does or does not do, the responsibility remains.”
The armed Houthi political opposition faction seized control of Sanaa, Yemen's capital, in late 2014, forcing the Yemeni government to flee to the city of Aden, while it's president, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, fled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he now primarily resides. The Saudi-led coalition entered Yemen months after Hadi fled the country, in support of the exiled government.
Yemen has since become one of the world's top humanitarian disasters. According to estimates quoted by the media, more over 150,000 people have been killed in the ongoing war, with fighters and civilians among them.
Let's stay in touch no matter what! Follow our Telegram channel to get all the latest news:
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала