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A)Humanitarian Crisis Deepens in Embattled Yemen City
Cat : Yemen
Date : 11/04/2015                      Reader : 96



WSJ             10-4-2015


A)Humanitarian Crisis Deepens in Embattled Yemen City

B)Fighting Leaves Streets In Yemen's Aden Littered With Bodies

C)Yemen conflict: 'This war has killed everything that was beautiful'

D)U.N. agency says at least 74 children killed in Yemen fighting






BEIRUT—Yemeni civilians trapped by battles between Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed fighters in the southern port city of Aden are quickly running out of clean water and food supplies, residents warned on Monday.

With bottled water no longer available, thousands of people were lining up at water pumps, said inhabitants of Yemen’s second-largest city. For most, fleeing the fighting was out of the question because of a fuel shortage.

“Food is in short supply and thousands of children sleep hungry,” Hayat al- Shamiri, a medic and mother of three, said by telephone.

“Where are the international aid organizations? There is no support coming to Yemen. Innocent civilians and children are dying in Aden while the world is watching,” Ms. Shamiri said.

Following a week of negotiations with officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Saudi Arabia said it would allow airplanes carrying 48 tons of emergency medical supplies to land in the Yemeni capital San’a by Wednesday, the aid organization said.

Maria Claire Feghali, the Red Cross spokeswoman in Yemen, said negotiations with the Riyadh government were continuing over allowing a boat transporting medical workers from Djibouti to dock in Aden.

Yemen, the region’s poorest country, imports about 90% of its food, and the Saudi-led airstrikes have severely damaged the country’s airports. Naval forces, also led by Riyadh, have shelled Aden and other Yemeni ports for days.

“Sea routes and air routes are closed and this is a country that depends a lot on imports,” Ms. Feghali said by telephone from San’a.


“The most critical part, the biggest challenge is the medical one. The hospitals are exhausted.”

On the ground, fighting between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed southern militias supporting President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi have closed the country’s main roads, further impeding the distribution of emergency aid.

Last week, three Red Cross volunteers were shot dead while trying to rescue wounded civilians in Aden. Ms. Feghali said it was unclear which side was to blame for the deaths.

Saudi Arabia cobbled together a military coalition of 10 countries aimed at reinstalling Mr. Hadi as president after Houthi rebels overran Aden and forced him to flee on March 25. Mr. Hadi is now believed to be in Saudi Arabia.

Although Riyadh accuses the Houthis of being Iranian proxies, the rebels and even U.S. officials say Tehran’s links to the group are limited.

In recent years, the Houthis have received Iranian training and some weapons.

Most of its arms, however, are obtained on Yemen’s thriving black market, Houthi and U.S. officials say.

U.S. officials believe the decision by the Houthis to launch a military offensive in southern Yemen was made independent of Tehran.

—An employee of The Wall Street Journal contributed to this article from San’a.


B)Fighting Leaves Streets In Yemen's Aden Littered With Bodies




SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Pitched fighting intensified Monday in Yemen's second-largest city, Aden, leaving streets littered with dead bodies, as Shiite rebels and their allies waged their strongest push yet to seize control of the main bastion of supporters of their rival, the country's embattled president.

The fierce fighting in the southern port city on the Arabian Sea raises doubts over the possibility of landing ground forces from a Saudi-led coalition backing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to try to carve out an enclave to which Hadi, who fled the country two weeks ago, could return.

Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to contribute soldiers to the military campaign, as well as air and naval assets, Pakistan's defense minister said Monday. Pakistan's parliament is debating the request and is expected to vote in coming days.

Saudi Arabia has been leading an air campaign since March 26 against the Houthis and their allies, military units loyal to Hadi's predecessor, ousted autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh. The International Committee for the Red Cross said Monday it was still unable to get medical supplies into the capital, Sanaa, or to Aden amid the air and sea blockade by the coalition.

On Monday, Houthi fighters and pro-Saleh forces attacked Aden's Moalla neighborhood, one of the last districts held by Hadi loyalists where the presidential palace, port facilities, TV, government offices and a military camp are located. The districts are on a peninsula that juts into the sea, meaning Hadi's forces are bottled up in the neighborhoods.

"We are jumping over dead bodies," Radwan Allawi, a pro-Hadi fighter, told The Associated Press from Aden. He said mosque loudspeakers were calling on Hadi's supporters to defend Moalla.

"It's intense street fighting, direct fire. The only difference between life and death may be an electricity pole behind which one can hide," the 20-year-old said.

Pro-Hadi fighters destroyed three tanks deployed in Moalla by their opponents overnight, only to find new ones Monday. At least one residential building was in flames from the fighting. Coalition forces started an airdrop of weapons to Hadi's forces on Friday, but some military officials say the weapons are falling into the wrong hands.

The number of casualties was not immediately known, with medical facilities in the city overwhelmed and volunteers coming under fire from rival groups.

Mohammed Abdo Hariri, a 50-year old resident of Aden, said he fled the city during a lull in the fighting and found its streets littered with corpses and burned-out armored vehicles. "This is a tragedy," he said.

Military experts say the intense fighting makes any ground operation in Aden far more difficult, particularly if the administrative center falls. Saudi officials have never said publicly that the coalition intends a ground operation, but some officials in Hadi's government have called for one. Egyptian officials have previously told the AP of plans to land forces at Aden and move other troops across the Saudi border into northern Yemen once airstrikes have sufficiently weakened the Houthis and their allies.

If Aden falls, ground forces "would be deprived of that location, which can be a command center," said retired Yemeni army general Khairi Hassan. He said coalition troops might still attempt to land at a smaller coastal town west of Aden, but at greater risk because there are few supportive forces on the ground in the area.

Mustafa al-Ani, a security analyst with close contacts in the Saudi government, said a large-scale ground operation is "out of the question," though a small number of special forces could be sent to guide airstrikes and gather intelligence. "You don't have the solid ground, the safe haven, where you can land your troops," he said of Aden.

Instead, the aim of the air campaign is "to break the back" of the Houthis and force them into negotiations, while encouraging Sunni tribes to revolt against them, said al-Ani, a Dubai-based analyst for the Gulf Research Center.

The Saudi-led airstrikes have targeted military camps, air bases, weapons depots and rebel headquarters in all but four of Yemen's 21 provinces, and civilian areas have often been hit. The U.N. estimates more than 500 people have been killed — many of them civilians — and thousands displaced by the fighting and the airstrikes.

On their 12th day Monday, the strikes began before sunset, hitting western parts of Sanaa, the Houthi's northern stronghold of Saada and in southern al-Dhale province, a supply route for Houthis fighting in Aden.

Meanwhile, the Houthis and their allies were launching a new advance into the province of Shabwa, one of the centers of Yemen's oil industry. The Houthis were seeking deals with local tribes to allow their forces safe passage to the provincial capital, Ataq, tribal leaders said. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions from Houthis.

Humanitarian groups have called for a pause in the fighting to allow aid to reach Yemen amid dwindling medical supplies and overstretched personnel. At least three Red Crescent volunteers were killed over the past week while evacuating wounded and retrieving the dead in Aden and al-Dhale.

The International Committee for the Red Cross said an aid plane it attempted to send to Sanaa was in Djibouti, across the Red Sea from Yemen, unable to fly because it belongs to Yemen's national carrier, Yemenia, which has halted all flights. Talks were underway with the Saudi coalition and other warring factions to arrange another cargo flight into the capital, said Marie Claire Feghali, an ICRC spokeswoman in Sanaa.

Also urgently needed, she said, is clearance to allow a surgical team to arrive in Aden from Djibouti by boat. No clearance has been granted, she said, without elaborating.

"The hospitals are exhausted," she said. "There are dead bodies on the streets in Aden. This is why we called for a 24-hour humanitarian pause in the fighting so that people can go and collect the dead."


C)Yemen conflict: 'This war has killed everything that was beautiful'


A mesmerising tune floods into Sarah Jamal’s ears, shielding them from the horror of the air strikes outside. Every night, when the bombing of the Yemeni capital begins in earnest, she takes refuge in the poetry she and her compatriots used to perform in Tahrir Square, Sana’a, when Arab spring protests four years ago held the tantalising promise of a new Yemen.


“They come with iron and fire, but they are weaker than straw,” the famous Yemeni poet Al-Baradouni recites in a recording to the melodious tone of the oud, a traditional Middle Eastern stringed instrument.

The violence of the latest war to engulf the Arab world’s poorest country is a far cry from those hopeful days. A Saudi-led coalition has been bombing Yemen for 12 days in an attempt to fight off an advance by Houthi rebels who took control of Sana’a and advanced on the southern port city of Aden, exiling the president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and threatening to plunge the country into all-out civil war.

According to the World Health Organisation, 549 people have been killed and 1,707 injured in violence in Yemen since 19 March, a week before the air campaign began. As the humanitarian situation worsens, the International Committee of the Red Cross received approval on Sunday from the military coalition that controls Yemen’s ports and air space for an aid flight to deliver medical supplies, but on Monday said “logistical problems” were delaying its departure.


Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of trying to spread its influence in the Middle East through the Houthi rebels.

“This is not the first war I’ve witnessed, but it is the worst by far,” Jamal, a sociologist, told the Guardian. “It seems that the older we get, the less tolerant we become with the sounds of blasts. We end up fearing more than we did when we were children.”

While Jamal endures the air raids in the capital, her family in Aden has had no electricity or water for days, and she fears the latest conflict will do irreparable damage to the Yemeni soul.

“This war is tearing the social texture in a way that makes it impossible to repair,” she said. “The double aggression we are under from the outside and the inside is creating cracks. I can see all my loved ones watching in pain knowing that things will never be the same even when this war ends, if it ever does.

“We have survived so many wars. We have been stripped of jobs, security and basic services before, however, this time we are being stripped of a home,” she said.

The sense of loss is all-consuming in Aden, where Mohammed takes refuge from the street fighting between Houthi fighters and local youth in his partially burned home with his two granddaughters. His son and other friends perished in the fighting. He says his son could have survived his wounds if the city had adequate medical supplies.

“By God, by God, by God, I will never surrender or have peace with them until I avenge my son and his friends,” he said. “They killed everything that was beautiful, we have nothing to smile for.”


Mohammed, not his real name, said he buried his son during a lull in the fighting, but could not have a memorial service for him because of the violence.

He said the Houthi rebels and their allies have fired indiscriminately at homes, and many people have been without water for days in the city. Mohammed’s family is trying to ration food to survive as the street battles keep them sequestered in their homes.

The damage may already have been done to Yemen’s unity, with the growing hatred of southerners, many of whom are still loyal to Hadi, towards the northern Houthi movement.

“We will fight even if we sign a ceasefire or peace, we will go to their homes and everywhere they live, we cannot forgive them. This is blood,” he said. “This is not my feeling alone, but its the feeling of all the southerners. The wounds have grown. We cannot return to the status quo.”


He said the city’s youth were still fighting fiercely against the Houthi rebels and their allies, fighters loyal to the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was replaced by Hadi after the Arab spring protests. The battle was unequal, he said, with the rebels able to muster rockets, artillery and armoured vehicles.

“When they heard the fighting they ran away,” he said of his granddaughters. “They are terrified. When these children grow up, do you think they will forget this? This will remain etched in our hearts.”

The city desperately needs medical and humanitarian assistance,

but it may yet be out of reach. Medical workers say they are having trouble reaching besieged areas, and fighters have already killed four healthcare workers in Aden in the past few days. They also seized six ambulances, including four that were used in combat, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Fighters have occupied two health facilities and five schools.


“In any war there are casualties always, but the painful thing is to see victims and you can’t get them medical care for any reason,” said Hisham Abdulaziz, a doctor who treated dozens of wounded who were hit by an apparent air strike in Mazraq refugee camp earlier in the war. “You feel paralysed.”

He called on all parties to the conflict to avoid targeting medics and civilians and to allow the entry of humanitarian supplies. “We have nothing to do with the conflict and who is right or wrong, but every wounded person deserves to get medical care,” he said.

In Sana’a, Abdulaziz said many families had fled the city, which has been hit by fuel and food shortages. He said the prices of some basic staples such as wheat have more than doubled. He has also been enduring air strikes at night as his home is near a military site. “We sit and listen to the bombs and pray that we will be safe, but that is up to fate,” he said. “But it’s not just me, it’s everyone in Sana’a.”


The attacks on health workers mean that fewer can reach besieged areas, and families of the wounded are less willing to transport their loved ones for treatment at the risk of being targeted. “This is really, really worrying,” said Dounia Dekhili, who is coordinating Médecins Sans Frontières activities in Yemen.


Dekhili said it was difficult to support clinics operating in besieged areas, where medics have not been sleeping for days and morgues are quickly filling up. She said that just as states have been able to evacuate their diplomats, humanitarian aid should be permitted to reach the affected areas.

She says the organisation has treatments loaded in cargo boats and planes to be sent to Aden and Sana’a, but they are awaiting permission to deploy them.

The Red Cross has also said it is facing severe problems trying to help victims of the recent violence. “We have a cargo plane with medical supplies which is ready to go,” Sitara Jabeen, a spokeswoman told AFP on Monday.

“We have the permission for this plane but we have logistical problems for the landing. There are less and less planes landing in Yemen. We are trying to solve the logistic problems.”



D)U.N. agency says at least 74 children killed in Yemen fighting



AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — More than 100,000 people in Yemen have left their homes in search of safety and at least 74 children have been killed since fighting in the country intensified almost two weeks ago, the U.N. children’s agency said.

UNICEF said the violence has disrupted water supplies in areas of southern Yemen and that sewage is overflowing in some locations, raising the risk of disease outbreak.

Hospitals are struggling to treat large numbers of wounded with insufficient supplies and some medical facilities have come under attack, the agency. It said at least three health workers, including an ambulance driver, have been killed in attacks.

Children are especially vulnerable, said the agency’s Yemen representative, Julien Harneis.

“They are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted,” Harneis said in a statement, released Monday in Amman, Jordan.

The agency said at least 74 children have been killed and 44 wounded since March 26, when a Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen’s Shiite rebels and their allies began.



The fighting pits allies of the country’s embattled president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, against Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies, military units loyal to Hadi’s predecessor, ousted autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh.

A Saudi-led coalition, which supports Hadi, has been carrying out airstrikes targeting the Houthis and their allies to halt their advance on Aden, Yemen’s second-largest city.

On Monday, fighting intensified in Aden, with the rebels and their allies making their strongest push yet to seize control of the port city, which has been the main bastion of support for Hadi. The clashes were so intense, many bodies were left in the streets.

The fighting raised doubts over the possibility of landing ground forces from the Saudi-led coalition to carve out an enclave to which Hadi, who fled the country two weeks ago, could return.

“Conditions are very dangerous right now,” UNICEF’s Dr. Gamila Hibatullah in Aden was quoted as saying. “Hospitals are overflowing, and even ambulances have been hijacked.”

Water systems have been repeatedly damaged in three southern systems, including Aden, the agency said, adding that it is providing fuel for pumping water. It said that in other southern areas, there are reports of water accumulating in the streets and sewage overflowing.

The agency estimated that more than 100,000 people have left their homes in search of safer areas.



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