From Voice of America:
Alexandre Faite, the outgoing head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen, said that more people now are dying from indirect effects of the war rather than results of fighting and airstrikes.
Alexandre Faite pointed to more than 2,000 deaths from cholera and acute watery diarrhea in a little more than six months, a crumbling health system, almost no power in most towns, and the absence of key commodities or their availability only at very high prices.
With the high death toll from cholera, Faite said, “I would personally think … that now more people are dying from the indirect effect of the hostilities.”
U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council that Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. 22 million people, or 3/4 of the population, are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Before the war, Yemen was dependent on imports for 90% of its staple food, medicine, and fuel. But with blockages at ports and shortages, prices for needed items have increased the prices and resulted in more people needing humanitarian assistance.
The war has also damaged power plants. It’s estimated that only 10% of people have access to power in towns and cities. Electricity is crucial to operating water pumping stations. The ICRC has partnered with UNICEF to help keep these water pumps running. The ICRC repairs the pumps while UNICEF provides the fuel and repairs the generators.
Faite said “humanitarian aid will not be the solution.”
“Economic life is key,” he said. “A country cannot run on humanitarian assistance. … What is also vitally important is that commercial items, imports, commercial life, is really allowed to resume.”
“The conduct of military operations is bad enough,” Faite said, but the indirect effects of the war on Yemen’s crumbling infrastructure, the failure to pay health workers, teachers and civil servants, “is really impacting the life of the everyday Yemeni.”
The ICRC is currently supporting six dialysis centers and providing insulin to people with diabetes.