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Published:May 14th, 2015 11:27 EST

Critical Aid Reaches Yemen

By SOP newswire3

The Special Envoy on Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has welcomed the humanitarian truce in the country as the United Nations and its partners ramp up critical relief efforts to civilian populations in need, according to a spokesperson for the Organization.

In a note to correspondents issued late yesterday evening, the UN spokesperson`s office said Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed paid tribute to the commitment of all the parties in implementing the five-day ceasefire but noted with concern reports of sporadic skirmishes in some areas.

Recalling the importance of this truce the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General calls on the media to play a positive role to help deescalate tensions and calls on all parties to resist reacting to provocations aimed at undermining the truce which could lead to a resumption of violence, " the spokesperson`s note declared.

Further violence could hinder the provision of humanitarian aid and relief of the Yemeni people and undermine prospects for a permanent cease-fire and a return to the political process. "

Since the Yemen conflict erupted in mid-March 2015, over 1,400 people have been killed and close to 6,000 people injured, roughly half of whom have been civilians. Civilians across the border in Saudi Arabia`s frontier towns have been caught up in the fighting as well.

Meanwhile, Yemen was already in a precarious state prior to the explosion of violence with the current fighting only fuelling concerns in the humanitarian community that the country would grow increasingly food insecure.

In 2014, a World Food Programme (WFP) food security survey found that 10.6 million people " 41 percent of the population " were food insecure with more than five million people severely food insecure " in need of food assistance. The current conflict will exacerbate the precarious food security situation because the country imports more than 90 percent of its food needs.

In the latest situation report from the ground, the UN`s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) confirmed that relief efforts during the first 24 hours of the humanitarian pause were primarily directed towards re-supplying and pre-positioning stocks while mobile medical teams travelled to affected areas in Amran, Hajjah and Hudaydah.

The UN`s relief arm added that two ships carrying 420,000 litres of fuel for humanitarian operations have been docked in Hudaydah since 9 May and that the fuel was now being distributed to 50 humanitarian partners to support life-saving operations. Partners estimate that operations require 5 million litres of fuel every month.

At the same time, telecommunications networks continue to face serious problems " as an estimated 70 per cent of phone calls fail to go through, especially in Aden and Sa`ada, where communications are nearly impossible. "

Photo Credit: Wikipedia