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Saudi-led war inflicted $111bn in damage to Yemen’s agriculture sector: Ministry

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)
A landmine victim, center, works at a farm in Midi District of Hajjah Province, Yemen, February 24, 2020. (File photo by Xinhua)

The Sana’a government’s Agriculture and Irrigation Ministry has enumerated the harm caused by the Saudi-led military coalition against Yemeni people, saying that the Riyadh-led aggression has, directly and indirectly, inflicted $111 billion in damage to Yemen's agriculture sector.

At a press conference released by Yemen's al-Masirah news agency on Sunday, the Yemeni ministry said 172 governmental agricultural buildings and facilities, 204 non-governmental agricultural buildings and facilities, and 89 water facilities, including dams and water conservation projects, were destroyed in Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes during past six years.

The ministry added that 2,314 agricultural warehouses, 75 markets, 45 agricultural unions, and 29 agricultural export centers and cold storage facilities were also demolished.

Elsewhere, the Yemeni Agriculture and Irrigation Ministry said 3,213 agricultural equipment and tools have been destroyed.

Agriculture Minister Abdul-Malek al-Thur said the damage done to the agriculture sector was very large and that more than 56 percent of those working in this sector had been negatively impacted.

Al-Thur said indirect damage in this sector includes loss of production capacity and alternative opportunities.

Radwan Al-Rubai, Yemen’s deputy agriculture minister, said Yemen’s food security has been severely compromised in the six years of aggression and siege against the country.

He said the ministry is planning to eliminate the dire ramifications of the war on Yemen’s agricultural sector and aims to pave the way for self-sufficiency and an agricultural revolution in the country by turning the challenges into opportunities.

Saudi Arabia and its regional allies, backed by Western powers, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 to restore the government of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who had resigned in 2014 and then fled to Riyadh.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the war has turned Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, killing almost a quarter of a million Yemenis, causing outbreaks of disease, and bringing the poor Arab country to the verge of famine.

Last month, ahead of the war’s sixth anniversary, four UN agencies warned that at least 400,000 Yemeni children under five could die of starvation this year due to severe malnutrition driven by the war and the coronavirus pandemic.

“These numbers are yet another cry for help from Yemen where each malnourished child also means a family struggling to survive,” World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley said in a joint statement with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) on February 12.

'271 Yemeni fishermen killed in Saudi war'

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Ministry of Fisheries also enumerated the consequences of the Saudi-led aggression, saying the coalition has carried out 85 direct attacks on Yemeni fishermen, killing at least 271 of them.

The ministry estimated the damage to its infrastructure at more than $137 million. It also estimated the number of boats destroyed in Yemen’s province of Hajjah and the port city of al-Hudaydah at 250, adding that the raids inflicted $2.5 million in damage to the environment.

The Ministry of Fisheries further said 40,000 fishermen had been negatively affected and more than 100 employees have lost their jobs.

According to the Yemeni ministry, more than 21,000 people linked with the fisheries sector were affected and 50 firms have stopped operating while only one export firm is still operating in a limited way.

It also estimated the damage to fisheries-related industries and services at $21 million and the toll on tariffs and revenues in the sector at $120 million.

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