NYT: Saudi-Led Airstrikes Leaving Many Yemenis Without Food and Fuel

AP Photo/Hani Mohammed
AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

The Saudi-led air campaign and escalating battles on the ground in Yemen have left many Yemenis without access to food and fuel needed to power water pumps and generators for hospitals, reports The New York Times (NYT).

The airstrikes and the fighting on the ground have devastated the infrastructure of some of the biggest cities in Yemen, leaving residents hunting for food and fuel.

“Indeed, this week, coalition warplanes bombed at least two airports to prevent an Iranian plane from landing; the strikes damaged a runway that was being used for international aid deliveries,” mentions the NYT article. “And the fighting, as well as a naval cordon set up by the coalition, is blocking deliveries of fuel and food by sea to a country that depends critically on imports.”

Aid groups say that a lack of fuel and restrictions on imports is threatening their operations, forcing some to withdraw from certain areas due to the lack of fuel.

“Yemen, which imports 90 percent of its food, has received hardly any food shipments in the last five weeks, and without fuel, there is no way to transport what little food is available,” notes The Times. 

Some hospitals are on the brink of closing because of a lack of fuel.

The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) on Thursday said “it had been forced to withdraw from the western Hudaydah province after running out of fuel there – and that it may have to pull out of other areas soon,” reports BBC.

“The warning was echoed by the International Committee for the Red Cross, that said a lack of fuel – as well as restrictions on imports – meant hospitals were struggling to provide an adequate level of care,” BBC adds.

One of the few cities that seems to be escaping the shortage of basic needs is the southern port of Al Mukalla, which has been under the control of al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula since early April.

The al-Qaeda jihadists provide security in the city and the food shelves are still stocked.

On Tuesday, the United Nations (U.N.) said that more than 300,000 people have been displaced by the violence.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels have linked up with military units loyal to former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh and are fighting armed groups loyal to internationally-recognized Yemen Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Saudi-led airstrikes have been targeting the Houthis and their allies since March 26. The Saudis have also stepped up efforts to arm the Houthis’s adversaries, notes The Times.

Some of the largest cities in Yemen—Sanaa, Aden, and Taiz—have been hit hard by the humanitarian crisis.

“Yemenis on the run are finding fewer and fewer places untouched by the war,” reports The Times. “The shortages of fuel and food are crippling Taiz and Aden, as well as Sanaa and other northern areas.”