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Yemen faces "catastrophic" humanitarian crisis

Monday, December 14, 2015 - 01:57

After nine months of civil war, Yemen's health sector is crumbling. Natasha Howitt reports.

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Yemen is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis. As the civil war enters its ninth month, eighty percent of the population requires some form of humanitarian assistance. Now, the health sector is crumbling - dozens of hospitals and clinics have been damaged or destroyed by war, and those that remain are overwhelmed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR THE RED CROSS IN SANAA SPOKESWOMAN, RIMA KAMAL, SAYING: "The overall humanitarian situation in Yemen is nothing short of catastrophic. On average you have 25 people killed in Yemen every day, another 125 that are injured. This has been ongoing for more than eight months by now. The civilian population is suffering on multiple fronts. You have ongoing airstrikes, you have heavy ground fighting, and then you have on top of that restrictions on the movement of goods and services." The Houthis have been locked in war with forces loyal to the President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's exiled government. The Houthis are backed by Iran, and Hadi's forces are backed by a mainly Gulf Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia. Amidst the chaos, hospitals have become targets. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR THE RED CROSS IN SANAA SPOKESWOMAN, RIMA KAMAL, SAYING: "A hundred attacks on hospitals and healthcare facilities since March. This is a very high number. Hospitals are no longer the safe places they used to be. We have incidents where both patients and hospital staff have been killed or injured." Pharmacy shelves are sparsely stocked. Critical medications are unavailable. A doctor in the capital Sanaa asked for help. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DR. MOHAMMED MANSOUR, DIRECTOR OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES AT JUMHOURI HOSPITAL SAYING: "Our message to the world is relieve us, we are suffering from a major lack of medicines, necessary and life saving medicines. We are on the verge of a catastrophe." The UN earlier this week said Western nations were quietly increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia to seek a deal to end the war. A security council meeting on Yemen is expected later this month, and a seven-day ceasefire starts on Monday. But in the meantime, the situation on the ground continues to spiral out of control.

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Yemen faces "catastrophic" humanitarian crisis

Monday, December 14, 2015 - 01:57