UNITED NATIONS, June 14 (Xinhua) – The ceasefire in Yemen has so far helped reduce fighting and other positive developments, but more needs to be done to meet growing humanitarian needs and insecurity, the UN Security Council said on Tuesday.
Council members heard from two top UN officials who gave an update on the effects of the recent agreement between the government and the Houthi rebels, which was recently renewed for another two months, while describing the challenges that remain.
The ceasefire has now been going on in Yemen for two and a half months, something unparalleled during this war, and something that seemed unthinkable at the beginning of this year, says Hans Grundberg, the UN’s special envoy for the war-torn. Country.
Since the ceasefire was announced in April, there have been no confirmed airstrikes in Yemen or cross-border attacks from the country, Grundberg said.
But as people enter previously inaccessible frontline areas contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance, the number of victims is increasing.
At the same time, the UN continues to receive reports of alleged violations from both sides, including shelling, drone attacks, reconnaissance flights and redeployment of forces, despite the overall reduction in fighting. Armed clashes have also been reported, mainly in Marib, Taiz and Hodeidah.
More than 480,000 tonnes of fuel were cleared by the port in April and May, more than the amount that came in throughout 2021.
“The steady supply of fuel has taken the pressure off important services, significantly reduced the queues at gas stations that dominated the streets of Sanaa and has made it possible for Yemenis to travel more easily across the country,” says Grundberg.
An important outstanding issue is the opening of roads to Taiz and other governments. Roads that are currently open are “long and difficult,” he said.
According to Grundberg, recent weeks have also revealed the fragility of the ceasefire, and delaying its full implementation could cause it to be torn up.
It is ultimately up to the parties to secure the ceasefire and to keep their promise in favor of Yemenis, he said.
There have also been “more controversial issues with political consequences” as a result of the implementation, such as revenue management, salary payments in the civil sector, travel documents and a more sustainable ceasefire, he added.
Ghada Mudawi, a senior official at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, also called on the Council to address the urgent needs of a country where 19 million people are starving, with more than 160,000 on the brink of starvation.
“Yemen’s humanitarian crisis is still as serious today as it was before the ceasefire. In fact, the crisis may soon worsen. Such an outcome would undermine the momentum of the ceasefire and could undermine the prospects for further progress,” she said.
In addition to spiral food prices rising, a depreciating currency has made matters worse, while significant gaps remain in services such as water, health and education. There are more than 4 million yeminis who have been expelled, of whom 7,000 have fled in the last two months.
Aid organizations are also having difficulty accessing Yemen. As a result of local regulations issued in several areas, their movements have been more limited in recent months.
Humanitarians are also concerned about insecurity as car hijackings, abductions and other attacks increase, sometimes forcing them to suspend operations.
Humanitarian aid continues to provide assistance to 11 million people in Yemen every month, but a UN response plan is currently underfunded, another major threat that has resulted in a reduction in food aid and a downsizing of many important programs.
Sweden and the European Commission will host a meeting to discuss Yemen’s humanitarian challenges later this month, a move Mudawi welcomes.
Under the auspices of the UN, Yemen’s warring parties entered into a two-month ceasefire on 2 April. The related parties agreed to extend this UN-mediated ceasefire for another two months on 2 June.
Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since the end of 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia took control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed Yemeni government out of the capital Sanaa.
The war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced 4 million and driven the country to the brink of starvation.