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Yemen: Saudi attacks on water facilities in Sa’ada ‘war crime’ amid severe shortages

A Yemeni child carries jerricans of water at a camp for internally displaced people on the outskirts of Yemen's northeastern city of Ma'rib, on October 29, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Yemeni officials have denounced as war crime the latest Saudi airstrikes that targeted water facilities providing water for tens of thousands of people in Sa’ada Province.

Late on Tuesday, Saudi warplanes conducted three airstrikes on reservoirs of Sa’ada City’s water project in the Talmous water station.

Speaking from the attack site, the deputy minister of Water and Environment Hanin al-Darib said on Wednesday, “These tanks and this institution provide 130,000 civilians with water supply.”

Al-Darib told al-Masirah news network that the attacks came amid a severe fuel shortage in the country, which has aggravated the suffering of residents of Sa’ada City.

The official stressed that the drinking water project was a civilian facility, urging international organizations to fulfill their responsibilities towards the women and children in Sa’ada.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Jaber Awad, the governor of Sa’ada, stated that “the Talmous water station is the sole station that supplies the displaced people, the needy, and resident of Sa’ada City and its suburbs with drinking water.”

Awad said the city has a population of more than 200,000 people who were benefiting from this project.

He urged the United Nations and human rights groups to condemn the Saudi targeting of water fields and resources that provide the residents of Sa’ada city with safe drinking water.

Mohammad al-Sa’adi, the head of the government corporation of water and sanitation, slammed the attack as “a cowardly action,” noting that “the city is down now,” while Hamid Mohmal, the deputy head of Human Council in Sa’a’da, condemned the attack on the facilities that provide water for 45,000 families as a “war crime.”

Mohmal urged international organizations to denounce the crime and urgently respond to the damage.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies -- including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015.

The war was launched to eliminate Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

The war, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, but it has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people.

As part of its economic war, the Saudi-led coalition has imposed an economic siege on Yemen, preventing fuel shipments from reaching the country, while looting the impoverished nation’s resources.

The UN says more than 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger. The world body also refers to the situation in Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Saudi war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.

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