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One civilian has been killed every three hours in fighting in Yemen since the beginning of August, with many more people succumbing to disease and hunger, Oxfam said today. The Saudi-led coalition and the internationally recognized government are battling with the Houthis to control key ports and cities in the country.
Germany has halted arms sales to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, and has called on all EU States to do the same. Oxfam is calling on the UK, US and other governments to suspend arms sales to the Saudis because of their disregard for civilian lives in the war in Yemen.
Yemenis face the triple threat of war, disease and hunger. Between 1 August and 15 October 575 civilians were killed in the fighting, including 136 children and 63 women. There have been more than 1.1 million cases of cholera in the last 18 months, with over 2000 of those proving fatal. And there have been over 100 deaths from diphtheria over a similar period. The UN warned this week that more than 14 million could die from starvation if the war continues.
Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam’s Country Director in Yemen said: “Every single life lost to this shameful conflict, be it through armed attacks, or through starvation and disease, should be an international outrage.
“Backers of all the warring parties should realize that they are complicit in this man-made crisis. Governments must comply with all international legal obligations to do their utmost to prevent civilian casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure. The international community urgently needs to do everything it can to get all sides in this war to agree a ceasefire.”
On Wednesday in Hudaydah an airstrike killed at least 16 civilians in a vegetable market. Earlier this month 15 civilians including four children were killed and 23 others were injured when an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition hit two buses loaded with passengers at a Houthi-held checkpoint to the south east of the city. A ground shelling at a camp for displaced people in southern Hudaydah killed a young woman and injured seven other people including six children.
The recent depreciation of the Yemeni Rial has led to the price of locally available foods soaring in markets. Yemen relies on imports for many staple foods, but importers are struggling to buy dollars to bring grain into the country.
Fuel has also sharply increased in price. The national average price for a liter of diesel is up 280 per cent on the price paid before the conflict began in March 2015. Many people rely on trucks to deliver clean water but if that becomes too expensive or unavailable they may turn to dirty water sources, increasing their risk of disease.
Notes to editors
Data on the number of civilian deaths has been provided by the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project and has not been verified by Oxfam.