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Yemeni ceasefire to take effect on April 10, says UN envoy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People look through a hole caused by a Saudi airstrike on a bridge in Yemen's capital Sana’a on March 23, 2016. (Reuters)

The UN special envoy to Yemen has announced a ceasefire will soon take effect in the impoverished country that has been on the verge of famine as a result of the year-long military aggression by Saudi Arabia.

"The parties to the conflict have agreed to a nationwide cessation of hostilities beginning April 10 at midnight in advance of the upcoming round of the peace talks, which will take place on April 18 in Kuwait," Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said during a media briefing in New York on Wednesday.

A Yemeni boy stands in the rubble of buildings destroyed in an airstrike by Saudi Arabia in the capital Sana'a on February 25, 2016. (AFP)

The announcement comes as previous efforts have failed to put an end to Riyadh's relentless attacks that has claimed the lives of more than 8,500 people, among them over 2,000 children since late March last year.

The last ceasefire in the Arab country, introduced on December 15, was repeatedly breached before Saudis officially announced an end to it on January 2.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN special envoy to Yemen

"The aim is to reach an agreement which will end the conflict and allow the resumption of an inclusive political dialogue," the UN envoy added.

Meanwhile, Saudi jets conducted a new series of airstrikes on northwestern Yemen Wednesday, killing at least five people while injuring six more.

Yemeni men inspect damaged vehicles following a Saudi airstrike in the capital Sana'a, February 27, 2016. (AFP)

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression in a bid to reinstate the fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh, and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

Famine looming

The need for an urgent Yemeni ceasefire became more visible on Wednesday, when the UN World Food Program (WFP) warned of a looming famine threatening half of the country.

According to the WFP, the war has put nearly half of Yemen's 22 provinces on the verge of famine and more than 13 million of its people are in need of food aid.

Yemeni children stand amid rubbish at a slum in the capital Sana'a, March 12, 2016. (AFP)

"From a food security perspective, 10 of Yemen's 22 provinces are classified as emergency, which is one step before famine," said Adham Musallam, the WFP deputy director in the capital Sana’a.

The UN body has launched a program of emergency food vouchers to counter the food crisis, seeking to eventually provide up to one million people with basic needs.

More than 2.3 million Yemenis have been displaced by the Saudi war, according to Musallam.

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