Ongoing commercial import restrictions have led to shortages of fuel, food and other essentials, driving up prices and devastating lives and livelihoods. The price of wheat flour has risen by 30 per cent, while the price of fuel has doubled and that of trucked water has skyrocketed by 600 per cent in some locations.
Urban water networks in seven cities have run out of fuel and now depend on humanitarian organizations to fill in the gap. Other cities will shortly be in a similar situation if the blockade is not lifted, which would leave 11 million people without safe water.
In other areas, people are reducing their food consumption to dangerous levels in order to pay for the rising cost of water trucking, or are turning to contaminated water sources to meet their basic needs. This further compounds the risk of disease, especially among children.
Less than half of the health facilities are functioning, and more hospitals and health centers will close should fuel and water supplies not improve. Sewage networks in six main cities are compromised, threatening a renewed spike in the country’s cholera outbreak, which has reached almost 1 million suspected cases and killed over 2,200 people.
This imminent catastrophe is entirely avoidable, but it requires immediate action by the coalition. While three ships carrying food have been granted permission to berth at Hudaydah port in recent days, four fuel tankers and ten ships carrying food have all been waiting for permission to enter port. Together, we call on the coalition to urgently open up all Yemeni Red Sea ports fully and to facilitate the entry and free-flow of humanitarian and vital commercial goods.
The United Nations is sending a team to Riyadh to discuss any concerns the coalition and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may have in relation to these ports. But we need the coalition to urgently grant unimpeded access for imports that are a lifeline for millions of people.
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