The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warns of the grave humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which has been under heavy bombardment by Saudi warplanes for more than four months.
Peter Maurer, who just ended a three-day visit to Yemen, said on Tuesday that he is appalled by the suffering he has witnessed in Yemen.
The ICRC chief said Yemen is “crumbling” under a deepening crisis which is nothing short of catastrophic.
"This cannot go on. Yemen is crumbling. As a matter of urgency, there must be free movement of goods into and across the country. Deliveries of food, water and medicine should be facilitated. Much more needs to be done. And minds need to be focused to find a political solution quickly," said Maurer.
"The humanitarian situation is nothing short of catastrophic. Every family in Yemen has been affected by this conflict. The people are facing immense hardship. And it is getting worse by the day. The world needs to wake up to what is going on."
The Red Cross head also stated that intense fighting and import restrictions imposed by the Saudi regime and its allies are having a dramatic impact on healthcare across Yemen.
"The compounded effects of intense fighting and import restrictions are having a dramatic impact on health care," Maurer said. "Health facilities have been massively attacked as well as suffering collateral damage. Medicines can't get in so patient care is falling apart. Fuel shortages mean equipment doesn't work. Insecurity means vaccination campaigns don't happen. And of course, the fighting makes getting to hospital a dangerous venture. It's a terrible downward spiral that puts thousands of lives at risk."
In a statement issued ahead of his three-day visit to Yemen on August 8, the ICRC chief warned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country.
"The human cost of this conflict is such that no family in Yemen today has been left unaffected," Maurer stated.
"We are particularly concerned about attacks on medical facilities and personnel."
Meanwhile, the head of Doctors Without Borders, Gazali Babiker, said violence and destruction caused by Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen have overwhelmed aid groups with "massive" humanitarian needs.
"The needs are massive and way beyond the capacity of aid organizations currently on the ground," Babiker said in Jordan on Monday.
Since March 26, Riyadh has been pounding various areas in Yemen – without a UN mandate. The Saudi military aggression is meant to undermine Houthi fighters and restore power to Yemen’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of the Riyadh regime.
According to the United Nations, the war on Yemen has killed over 4,000 people, nearly half of them civilians, since late March. Local Yemeni sources, however, put the fatality figure at a much higher number.