Photo of the day: ICRC president witnesses catastrophic situation in Yemen

A recent spike in hostilities, including the intense ground fighting, has heightened the suffering of Yemen’s civilian population. It is estimated that since March, nearly 4,000 people have been killed, 19,000 injured and 1.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes. Severe shortages of water, food and fuel continue across the country as well as airstrikes and ground fighting.
On a recent three-day visit to the country, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, has said he is appalled by the suffering he has witnessed in Yemen. Mr. Maurer termed the humanitarian situation as “nothing short of catastrophic”, remarking that every family in Yemen has been affected by this conflict.

The president of the ICRC, Peter Maurer, speaks to a local resident affected by the airstrikes in the old city of Sana'a in Yemen. Photo: ICRC 

The compounded effects of intense fighting and import restrictions are having a dramatic impact on health care, as health facilities have been massively attacked, medicines can't get brought into the country, and fuel shortages mean equipment doesn't work. Insecurity impedes vaccination campaigns, while fighting makes getting to hospital dangerous.
Since January the ICRC has helped supply water to more than two million people and provided food and other essentials for more than 100,000 people. It supports health facilities by donating urgent supplies and equipment, and by sending in surgical teams specialized in war injuries. The Canadian Red Cross is supporting these efforts, contributing over $130,000 towards the ICRC operation in Yemen.
But Mr. Maurer said humanitarian organizations could only do so much. He urged that there be free movement of goods into and across the country, deliveries of food, water and medicine should be facilitated and that “minds need to be focused” to find a political solution quickly.

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