The United Nations health agency has delivered more than 100 tonnes of medicines and supplies for 1.2 million people in strife-torn Yemen’s central Taiz governorate, where over 3 million people, almost 400,000 of them internally displaced, are in dire need of humanitarian aid.
“We are calling on all parties to guarantee unrestricted, long-term delivery of humanitarian aid and unconditional movement of health workers,” the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Yemen, Dr. Ahmed Shadoul, said of the supplies, delivered last week, following the announcement of a ceasefire, which has only been partially observed.
The aid consists of urgently needed oxygen cylinders, medicines and medical devices, including surgical supplies and equipment for the management of trauma cases, and have been distributed to 13 hospitals and health centres as well as replenishing the local health department’s stocks for future needs.
“The health situation in Taiz has increasingly deteriorated. Shortages in health staff, medicines and fuel, as well as limited access by the humanitarian community due to the insecurity, have caused many health facilities in the governorate to shut down,” Dr. Shadoul said.
The distribution of an additional 22 tonnes of medical aid to five health facilities in Sala, Al-Qahera and Al-Mudhaffar districts of Taiz City is on hold due to access issues. WHO is negotiating with all parties to the conflict and advocating for unconditional access of medicines and supplies to these districts, where 400,000 people are in critical need of humanitarian aid.
“WHO is deeply concerned about the continuous lack of humanitarian access to Taiz City, depriving people from basic health care and violating their essential human rights,” Dr. Shadoul added.
“WHO re-emphasizes the crucial need for uninterrupted delivery of health services and calls upon all concerned parties to respect the basic rights of all Yemenis to access health care services.”
Last week, the UN Security Council expressed “deep concern” over the number of violations of the ceasefire and urged all parties to observe it and exercise maximum restraint following the adjournment of peace talks.
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed adjourned the talks seeking to end the factional fighting, which has torn the country apart over the past year, until mid-January to allow for bi-lateral in-country and regional consultations to secure full adherence to the ceasefire.