• UN aid chief calls for end to Saudi war on Yemen

The UN aid chief has appealed for a halt to fighting in Yemen amid intense diplomacy to end the ongoing Saudi aggression that has pushed millions to the brink of famine.

UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock made appeal during a press briefing after arriving in the Yemeni capital Sana’a on Thursday.

"I'd like to see a cessation of hostilities, especially around the key infrastructure, especially around Hudaydah," Lowcock said

The UN official said the fighting has once again highlighted the ongoing humanitarian tragedy in the war-ravaged Arab country.

"I have come because I am very concerned about the humanitarian situation here, which has deteriorated since I was here last."  

Lowcock, who last visited Yemen in October 2017, called on authorities in Sana’a to improve the environment in which the aid agencies operate.

"I'd like to see the environment, in which the aid system operates, made easier for the aid agencies,” he said.

"I would like to see stronger economic support, more resources injected into the economy, salaries paid, more foreign exchange so that ordinary people have more money to buy the essentials to survive," he said.

Lowcock will spend three days in Yemen to see first-hand the world's worst humanitarian crisis. He is expected to hold talks with officials in Sana’a and the southern city of Aden, which is controlled by forces loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

According to the United Nations, operations at Yemen's lifeline port of Hudaydah have dropped by almost 50 percent over the past two weeks, with shipping companies deterred by insecurity and ongoing Saudi attacks in the flashpoint city.

The UN's World Food Program said on Tuesday that a drop in the arrival of wheat and other supplies would affect food stocks in Yemen where 14 million people are facing possible  starvation after nearly four years of war. 

UN agencies say the closure of the port would exacerbate the humanitarian crisis gripping the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

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Nov 29, 2018 17:55 UTC
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