16m Yemenis Without Clean Water

16m Yemenis Without Clean Water16m Yemenis Without Clean Water

Almost two-thirds of the population of war-torn Yemen have no access to clean water, two months into the Saudi-led air campaign against Houthi forces, relief agency Oxfam said Tuesday.

“Ongoing airstrikes, ground fighting and fuel shortages mean that an additional three million Yemenis are now without drinking water, raising the total number of Yemenis without a clean water supply and sanitation to at least 16 million,” the Britain-based organization said.

“This is equivalent to the populations of Berlin, London, Paris and Rome combined,” Oxfam’s Yemen director Grace Ommer said in a statement, AFP reported.

Even before the escalation in fighting, half the population of the impoverished nation had no access to clean drinking water, the group said.

A Saudi-led alliance launched airstrikes on March 26 in Yemen in a battle against Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a bid to restore Yemen’s fugitive president Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Weeks of airstrikes and ground fighting have damaged and disrupted large parts of the water network, Oxfam said.

“People are being forced to drink unsafe water as a result of the disintegration of local water systems, bringing the real risk of life-threatening illnesses, such as malaria, cholera, and diarrhea,” the organization said.

In related news, Saudi-led coalition warplanes on Monday struck a home owned by the son of Saleh in the capital, Sanaa.

It remains unclear whether Ahmed, a former commander of Yemen’s Republican Guard, had been inside the building at the time of the attack.