UN says humanitarian pause in Yemen to begin on Friday-Aid Groups rush to assist civilians

UN says humanitarian pause in Yemen to begin on Friday-Aid Groups rush to assist civilians

The UN says a humanitarian ceasefire will start in Yemen on Friday and last until the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, on 17 July.

Since a Saudi-led coalition started airstrikes in March aimed at driving back Houthi rebels and restoring the government, over 3,000 people have been killed.

Aid agencies say a blockade on Yemen has only made the humanitarian crisis gripping the country worse.

Over 80% of Yemen’s 25 million people are now in need of some kind of aid- (follow this link to read more).

Displaced by Conflict

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, “It is imperative and urgent that humanitarian aid can reach all vulnerable people of Yemen unimpeded and through an unconditional humanitarian pause”.

The pause is supposed to come into effect on Friday at 23:59 local time (20:59 GMT).

Yemen, in recent months has descended into conflicts between several different groups, though the main fight is between forces that are loyal to beleaguered President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and Shia Zaidi rebels-or Houthis-who forced Mr Hadi to flee the capital Sanaa in February.

After the president’s southern stronghold of Aden was closed by rebel forces in late March, a coalition that was led by Saudi Arabia responded to a request by Mr Hadi to intervene and launched airstrikes on Houthi targets.

Gulf Arab states have accused Iran of backing Houthis militarily and financially though Iran has denied this.

On Tuesday, the UN made the announcement that at least 1,528 civilians were among the 3,000 dead.

Another 1 million civilians have been displaced by the conflict.

Charities say a lack of fuel in Yemen is making it hard to reach those who are in need and to provide adequate care in the hospitals.

The coalition allowed a 5 day humanitarian ceasefire in May but much of the aid promised to those in need has failed to materialize.

Strategically, Yemen is importance since it sits on the Bab al-Mandab strait, a narrow waterway linking the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, through which much of the world’s oil shipments pass.

UN secretary, General Ban Ki-Moon said the president has communicated acceptance of the pause to the coalition to ensure their collaboration and support.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, said the Houthis, the General People’s Congress and the other parties had ensured U.N special envoy Ismail Cheikh the pause will be respected fully and there will be no violations from combatants under their control- (read more on this link).

“We feel we have the expressions necessary by all parties to announce the start of this pause on Friday”, said Dujarric.

“The Secretary-General looks forward to the commitments of all the parties to the conflict in Yemen to an unconditional humanitarian pause to start on Friday… until the end of Ramadan”, he said.

In May, both sides observed a 5 day humanitarian truce that was brokered by the UN.

The UN has raised Yemen to its highest level of humanitarian crisis placing it alongside emergencies in South Sudan, Syria and Iraq.

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