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Taiz city becoming uninhabitable as fighting blocks entry of supplies and aid

Saferworld endorses the joint press release this week by the International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGO) Forum in Yemen on the critical humanitarian situation in Taiz. As a member of the Forum we reiterate our concern for those affected. Daily reports from our partners in Taiz in the past weeks have confirmed that the situation on the ground is causing acute suffering to the civilian population and there is an urgent need for a halt to the violence.

Press release from the International Non-Governmental Organisations Forum on Yemen:

Nearly 200,000 people in Taiz city are now cut off from water, food and medical supplies, the International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGO) Forum in Yemen said this week.

Paul Critchley, Country Director of Mercy Corps Yemen said: “Taiz city is becoming un-inhabitable, and due to the continued insecurity, aid agencies are unable to do the bare minimum to meet the increasing humanitarian needs on the ground. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of civilians remain there and are forced to fend for themselves amid airstrikes, ground fighting, and a near-total collapse of basic services. The Yemen INGO Forum calls on all parties to allow entry of aid and vital supplies into the city, to allow people to meet their most basic needs.”

Taiz City is already the worst affected area in Yemen right now. If vital humanitarian supplies and aid workers continue to be restricted then an already deplorable situation is going to get even worse.

Of particular concern is the closure of the majority of public hospitals in Taiz governorate, a direct consequence of the ground fighting, airstrikes and the lack of basic commodities like fuel and medical supplies. Now an estimated 3.2 million people in the governorate have either no or very limited access to health care amid a growing dengue fever epidemic with nearly 1,700 reported cases in the governorate so far, a figure that is expected to rise given the dire situation. Lack of fuel in the governorate is affecting the supply of clean water as most water pumps are no longer running.

The overall humanitarian situation in Taiz city is expected to further deteriorate in the short term as entry of vital humanitarian supplies and aid workers into the city are restricted by the fighting.

The price of diesel in the governorate increased by 500%, petrol by 405%, and wheat flour by 105%, putting these vital commodities beyond the reach of millions who have been out of work and without income for many months now.

Giorgio Trombatore, Country Director for International Medical Corps (IMC) in Yemen said: “If restrictions on entry of vital supplies continue and are found to be disproportionately affecting civilians, then those responsible are violating international humanitarian law. Deliberate attacks on humanitarian assets and programme sites also constitute violations of these laws. The conduct of warring parties in Yemen can no longer go unchecked, and the international community needs to hold all sides accountable to ensure civilians affected by the ongoing conflict are protected and able to safely access their basic needs. People in Yemen also need an immediate ceasefire and the removal of all restrictions on imports of aid and vital commercial supplies, so people can safely meet their basic needs.”

For media enquiries and more information contact Kate Nevens at knevens@saferworld.org.uk

Find out more about our work in Yemen.

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Daily reports from our partners in Taiz in the past weeks have confirmed that the situation on the ground is causing acute suffering to the civilian population