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Financial toll of Saudi-led war on Yemen’s telecom sector exceeds $4bn: Ministry

In this photo taken on November 27, 2016, people gather by a telecommunications tower destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike near the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, Yemen. (Photo by Reuters)

The Yemeni Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology says the financial toll on the country’s telecom sector five years after a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia began bombing the impoverished Arab state stands at billions of dollars.

The ministry said in a statement on Monday that the Saudi-led coalition has carried out a total of 2,398 airstrikes against Yemen’s telecommunications and postal sites ever since the war began in March 2015.

The statement added that the air raids have resulted in the complete destruction of 31% of the infrastructure, whilst another 23 percent has been partially damaged.

The ministry further put the financial losses sustained as a result of the Saudi-led war at 4.1 billion dollars.

Additionally, at least 72 Yemeni regions and cities remain disconnected and isolated from the world, meaning that more than one million and two hundred thousand people cannot make phone calls and have no access to internet and the free flow of information.

The Yemeni ministry concluded by saying that the incessant Saudi-led attacks against the country’s national telecommunications network have dramatically reduced the quality of services, affecting more than 14 million frequent Internet users.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring the country’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

According to the UN, Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian disaster as nearly 80 percent of the population requires some form of humanitarian assistance and protection.

Ten million people are a step away from famine while seven million are malnourished, the world body says.

It has also warned that nearly 14 million people depend on humanitarian aid every month. 

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