(ABC, Australia) Yemen conflict: Red Cross, Russia appeal for 24-hour ceasefire to deliver urgent humanitarian aid

From: Biniam Tekle <biniamt_at_dehai.org_at_dehai.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2015 21:59:08 -0400


Yemen conflict: Red Cross, Russia appeal for 24-hour ceasefire to
deliver urgent humanitarian aid

Posted about an hour ago

The Red Cross and Russia have called for a ceasefire in Yemen to allow
the delivery of urgent humanitarian aid and the evacuation of
civilians after 10 days of Saudi-led air strikes and fighting.

Russia distributed a draft resolution at the United Nations pressing
for the suspension of coalition air strikes on Houthi forces to allow
evacuation of foreign civilians and diplomats, and demanding rapid and
unhindered humanitarian access.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also called for an
immediate pause in hostilities to deliver life-saving medical aid,
saying three of its shipments remained blocked.

"All air, land and sea routes must be opened without delay for at
least 24 hours to enable help to reach people cut off after more than
a week of intense air strikes and fierce ground fighting nationwide,"
the ICRC said.

The United Nations says more than 500 people have been killed in the
past two weeks in Yemen and nearly 1,700 wounded.

Coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, asked about the
calls for a humanitarian pause, said only that the military was ready
for any instructions from its political leadership.

He said aid agencies and governments should coordinate aid shipments
with officials in Riyadh.

Residents in Aden say parts of the southern port city have been
without water or electricity for two days.

There was no sign of a halt in the fighting in Aden, where medical
teams fear more civilians will die if they do not get access to the

Fighting in the southern port city has intensified in recent days with
Saudi-led airstrikes aiming to push back Shiah Houthi rebels.

Aden is a stronghold of those loyal to president Abdrabbuh Mansour
Hadi who fled Aden a week ago and has watched from Riyadh as the
vestiges of his authority have crumbled.

Jets from the Saudi-led coalition have parachuted weapons into Aden to
bolster fighters loyal to Mr Hadi.

A military spokesman for the Saudi coalition said it was providing
substantial logistical support for Mr Hadi's fighters. He declined to
confirm or deny reports that Saudi special forces were operating in

Loyalists to him managed to flush out the Houthis and their allies
from central Aden's Crater district on Friday, a rare victory after
more than a week of gains by the Houthis.

The Houthis are backed by soldiers loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen crisis at a glance:
Yemen's autocratic leader Ali Abdullah Saleh loses power in the wave
of 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
Nation embarks on political transition based on an agreement brokered
by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The Houthi, or Ansarullah Islamist group, claims the mantle of a
national revolution and sweeps southwards, seizing Sanaa.
Sunni Islamist parties loyal to president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
reject the rebels' takeover.
Al Qaeda militants join forces with some tribal opponents of the
Houthis in a series of deadly clashes.
Fighting temporarily displaces about 100,000 people in 2014, according
to the United Nations.
Corruption and lack of basic services and infrastructure remain huge
problems for the impoverished country.
Source: Reuters, AFP, The World Bank
Received on Sat Apr 04 2015 - 21:59:47 EDT

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