One month into the crisis, Oxfam warns that power stations in Yemen are almost out of fuel, phone networks are suffering extensive damage, and the banking system is at a standstill. The escalation in violence has also damaged the water infrastructure leaving millions of Yemenis without clean water. The crisis has so far claimed more than 1100 lives – mostly civilians.
“The country is on the brink of collapse,” said Grace Ommer, Oxfam’s Country Director in Yemen. “This cannot go on any longer, and civilians cannot continue to bear the brunt of this war. We need to see an immediate end to the violence, all import routes into the country need to be opened immediately to ensure that vital supplies can enter the market, and we need orchestrated attempts to ensure that aid is reaching the affected communities in Yemen.”
The closure of import routes continues to limit the entry of vital supplies into the country, putting millions more at risk, as supplies of fuel, food and medicines run critically low. Yemen imports nearly 350,000 tonnes of food every month, but very little has gone through over the last month, because of the blockade.
Ommer added: “Oxfam welcomed the announcement last Tuesday that the next phase in Yemen would focus on humanitarian access. But as the fighting resumed and the blockade is still in place, the humanitarian situation in Yemen is in fact deteriorating by the day.”
Across Yemen, millions are now without clean water as the infrastructure in some governorates is suffering extensive damage, and workers at water facilities are abandoning their posts. In addition, banks are shut for a fifth week in a row, and post offices are struggling to handle money transfers.
An Oxfam staff member in Hodeidah said: “The big concern for people is the fuel crisis which has impacted food prices and has led to the ongoing power cuts; we now get a few hours of electricity during the night, if at all. However, Oxfam operations are ongoing in Hodeidah where we are assisting an increasing number of internally displaced people fleeing the more dangerous areas in the country.”
Over the last month, Oxfam helped more than 60,000 Yemenis with water, cash, hygiene kits, and livestock to build resilience in affected communities. However, Oxfam staff in Yemen have confirmed that the telecommunications network is severely damaged in some governorates, which, in addition to the potential disintegration of the banking system, could halt Oxfam’s continuing emergency programmes on the ground, further exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.