US, European Nations Slammed for 'Complicity' as Humanitarian Groups Demand Aid for Yemen
"The choice is between resolution, or complicity in the suffering; there is no third option."
Fourteen international aid agencies on Friday expressed that they were "appalled" by the global community's complacency regarding the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Yemen, and called for a resolution to the civil war that's gone on for two years—while in its own statement, Amnesty International called for an end to complicity in the conflict from the U.S. and its allies.
"This is not the time for carefully balanced statements," read a statement signed by groups including the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, and Relief International. "The choice is between resolution, or complicity in the suffering; there is no third option."
"The U.S.A., U.K., and France must immediately cease supplying arms to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen, which is impeding humanitarian assistance of items indispensable to the survival of civilians," declared Amnesty International.
The current famine and cholera epidemic in Yemen have both been exacerbated by a blockade that the Saudi-led coalition supporting government forces escalated 12 days ago.
"The international community must break its shameful silence and use all possible means to lift the blockade on Yemen immediately."—International Rescue Committee
Sanitation and water systems in the country had already been bombed out of commission before the blockade, which has now made it impossible for aid agencies to get a wide range of badly-needed supplies and services to the civilians who need them.
UNICEF reported on Friday that it has only enough of a diphtheria vaccine to last 15 more days. "If this vaccine is not brought in, one million children will be at risk of preventable diseases," the groups wrote.
The country is also experiencing a fuel shortage which has led to scarce clean water and has forced hospitals to close some wards while struggling to care for a civilian population in the midst of the worst cholera outbreak on record, with over a million cases expected by the end of the year, as well as "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades," according to the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator.
"The international community must break its shameful silence and use all possible means to lift the blockade on Yemen immediately," said the relief groups in their statement. "Hodeidah port, that serviced 80 percent of all imports, and Sana'a airport, needs to be reopened to let in urgently needed shipments of food, fuel, and medicines. Every day the blockade lasts means thousands of Yemenis will suffer from hunger and preventable diseases. Millions could die in a historic famine if the blockade continues indefinitely."
"The U.S.A., U.K., and France must immediately cease supplying arms to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen, which is impeding humanitarian assistance of items indispensable to the survival of civilians."—Amnesty International
On Thursday, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and World Food Program issued their own urgent plea for an end to the blockade, saying, "The clock is ticking and stocks of medical, food, and other humanitarian supplies are already running low. The cost of this blockade is being measured in the number of lives that are lost."
Friday's statement came days after Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) criticized the U.S. government in a speech on the Senate floor for its support of the Saudi coalition.
"The United States is part of this coalition. The bombing campaign that has caused the cholera outbreak could not happen without us," said Murphy.
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