Russia-Ukraine conflict could reduce Yemenis’ access to basic needs: Report

The escalation of conflict in Ukraine is likely to further diminish people's access to their basic needs in Yemen

Sanaa: The Russian invasion of Ukraine isn’t only jeopardizing the lives of Ukraine’s citizens, but also raises concern in war-torn Yemen and could reduce Yemenis’ access to their basic needs.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a report on its official website, “In a country where food insecurity is already threatening over 16.2 million people, the severity of food and water needs is dangerously acute in Taiz and other nearby areas highly impacted by ongoing violence.”

The report warned that the escalation of conflict in Ukraine is likely to further diminish people’s access to their basic needs in Yemen. The conflict in Ukraine would lead to an increase in food prices, especially the cost of grain, in addition to an increase in fuel prices around the world.

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ICRC official Katharina Ritz in an interview with Associated Press said that the world must not “divert its attention” from the plight of those living in the shadow of the years-long war in Yemen, and urged continued assistance to the poorest country in the Middle East, while Ukraine’s crisis attracts the world’s attention.

Continuously violence in Taiz, Marib, Al Bayda, Al Hudaydah, Shabwa, Al Jawf, and Hajjah forced more than 157,500 people to be displaced in 2021 alone, aside from the 3.3 million people who remain displaced across Yemen.

The country, which has been on the brink of starvation for years, may exacerbate its crisis due to the Russian military action on Ukraine, as Yemen imports about 40 percent of its wheat from the two conflicting countries.

Russia and Ukraine entered their 17th day of fighting on Saturday, after Russian leader Vladimir Putin initiated a full-scale invasion into the country on February 24.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reports that more than half of Yemen’s population is in need of food aid.

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in Yemen on Friday took to Twitter and wrote, “Children in Yemen are not starving because of lack of food, but because their families cannot afford food.”

UNICEF added that without urgent action, it could plunge millions into starvation. “The impact of the economic collapse on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen cannot be underestimated,” it said.

It is noteworthy that for months, UNICEF has been complaining of a severe shortage of funding for humanitarian operations in Yemen, which has led to a reduction in the volume of aid that benefits millions of people, amid warnings of an increase in hunger.

Since March 2015, Yemen has witnessed the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and more than 150,000 people have been killed in the seven-year war, according to data on events and the location of the armed conflict. The Saudi-led airstrike killed hundreds of civilians and targeted the country’s infrastructure, while the Houthis used child soldiers and planted landmines indiscriminately across the country.

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