A call for a humanitarian pause in Yemen as millions face famine threat

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Photo: OCHA/Charlotte Cans

Parties to the conflict in Yemen are being urged to allow aid agencies "immediate and unimpeded" access to people in need.

The call comes from UN humanitarian affairs chief, Stephen O'Brien, who said millions of Yemenis face famine because food aid is not reaching them.

The UN estimates that as many as 21 million people—80 per cent of the population—need assistance.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN humanitarian affairs chief called on the parties in Yemen to agree to an immediate and unconditional humanitarian pause across the country.

Recent reports of attacks, including on markets, medical facilities and sites sheltering refugees, give an indication of what he called the "clear disregard for human lives" in the country.

Since March, more than 3,000 civilians have been killed in Yemen and more than one million people displaced due to fighting between rebel groups and forces loyal to the president.

Countless others are dying because hospitals are closing down due to fuel shortages.

Mr O'Brien stressed that all parties to the Yemen conflict must respect their obligations to protect civilians. 

He added that members of the international community with influence on them must also shoulder some of the responsibility.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 50″

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