More than two months of a brutal Saudi Arabia-led military assault and siege on Yemen has sown a humanitarian crisis that now engulfs the vast majority of the country's people, with U.S.-backed naval blockades cutting off most aid shipments, even as 20 million Yemenis—80 percent of the population—are in dire need of medical, food, and water assistance, according to United Nations figures.
The UN's grave assessment will be formally released next week, according to The Guardian. At a press conference on Friday in Geneva, representatives of the global body said that more than 2,288 have been killed, nearly 10,000 wounded, and more than one million displaced since the beginning of the Saudi coalition military assault, in which the United States is a key participant.
"Half of the new displacement—more than half a million people—has occurred in three governorates alone: Hajjah, Ad Dhale’e and Ibb," said Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "The number of displaced is expected to increase further over the coming weeks if the conflict continues."
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The naval siege is also blocking shipments of oil and gas, leading to shortages that are disrupting electricity and forcing the closure of hospitals, schools, and water pumps. People living in areas heavily impacted by the Saudi coalition air bombardments, as well as on-the-ground clashes, are in the position of having to find a way to obtain food and water amidst the fighting.
In what aid group Doctors Without Borders describes as "indiscriminate airstrikes," the Saudi coalition has bombed schools, refugee camps, residential neighborhoods, humanitarian aid warehouses, and other civilian infrastructure. The organization warned on Twitter:
Patients with non-communicable chronic diseases have complications &can die as they are unable to access the health structures. #YemenCrisis
— أطباء بلا حدود-اليمن (@msf_yemen) May 31, 2015
Last week, the humanitarian organization Oxfam warned that at least 16 million people in the country are without access to clean drinking water and "Yemen's hospitals are in no condition to adequately cope with an outbreak of a water-borne disease."
As they have since the Saudi-led assault began, Yemenis have turned to social media to document the impact of the war and call for an end to the fighting: