Civilian Suffering in Yemen “Unprecedented”

Civilian Suffering in Yemen  “Unprecedented” Civilian Suffering in Yemen  “Unprecedented”

Civilian suffering in Yemen has reached "unprecedented levels," the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday, warning that intensifying violence in the country's south was hamstringing emergency medical aid.

"The suffering of the civilian population has reached unprecedented levels," the ICRC's mission chief in Yemen, Antoine Grand, said in a statement, AFP reported.

ICRC voiced particular concern over worsening clashes in the southern governorates of Taiz and Aden, where Saudi-backed forces loyal to fugitive president Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi have recently made gains.

He said in Aden and Taiz, "It is becoming increasingly difficult for us to reach affected areas, to evacuate the dead and the wounded and to provide life-saving assistance."

The aid group urged both pro-Hadi militants and Houthi forces to let humanitarian groups work.

Heavy fighting forced a four-month closure of Aden's International Airport, what had been a vital landing point for aid headed to embattled south Yemen.

The airport reopened this week and an Emirati plane landed in it at dawn on Friday, bringing humanitarian aid to the southern Yemeni city, only hours after its airport came under rocket fire. Four aircraft reportedly carrying humanitarian supplies have since landed in Aden.

The ICRC warned as the fighting escalated, so too did "shortages of water, food and fuel across the country."

The battle for Aden has become the epicenter of Yemen's conflict over the past several weeks. The Houthis took control of the Yemeni capital Sana'a last September and began pressing their advance south.

Coalition Declares 5-Day Truce

The Saudi-led coalition unilaterally declared a five-day humanitarian truce from Monday to allow aid deliveries, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The ceasefire will take effect from midnight on Sunday, a statement on Saturday said, with the coalition reserving the right to respond to "military activity or movement" by the Houthis. SPA said the decision was taken at the request of Hadi.

The UN has declared Yemen a level-three humanitarian emergency, the highest on its scale.

Saudi Warplanes Killing Civilians

A Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen's Taiz killed at least 55 people and left tens injured, local Saba news agency said on Saturday.

Saba quoted a local source in Taiz as saying the bombing targeted the Mokha area inhabited mostly by engineers and workers of a power station and some displaced families.

The number of casualties was expected to rise as rescue services were working in the area and several of those injured and transferred to nearby hospitals were in serious condition, the source said.

A Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries has been bombarding Yemen since late March to reinstate Hadi, who has fled to Riyadh, and repel Houthis.

This is while reports citing security officials, medical officials and witnesses said Saudi warplanes killed more than 120 civilians and wounded more than 150 after shelling a residential area in Taiz on Friday evening.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said most of the houses in the area were leveled by Saudi shelling and a fire broke out in Mokha. Most of the corpses, including of children, women and elderly people, were charred by the flames, they said.

Ahmed Mohammed al-Mouzay, a resident of the area who participated in rescue operations, said most of his neighbors had passed away. Many of the dead and wounded were transported in private cars or in animal-drawn carts to hospitals.

A security official said it was not possible to move the injured into the provincial capital because of road closures due to ongoing fighting.