Over three months into the Saudi war and with the naval blockade continuing to hold, the civilian death toll from a conflict which has seen airstrikes against major cities on a daily basis has surpassed 1,500. Aid groups warn that could soon be a drop in the bucket.
Saudi airstrikes pounded cities all across the nation yesterday, killing 169. Overwhelmingly, as is so often the case with such strikes, the deaths were civilians, as strikes pounded marketplaces full of shoppers.
The bombs are a more direct threat, but the real problem lies in the blockade, which is particularly devastating for Yemen, which imports some 90% of its food, almost exclusively by sea. Saudi warships have been detaining all such vessels indefinitely along the coast, and many of the usual shipping companies won’t take jobs to Yemen, seeking to avoid their ships being stuck in this legal black hole.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is the latest to warn that, with food prices soaring and the food itself in short supply at any price, Yemen is getting closer to a full-scale famine. Red Cross head Antoine Grand warned the situation is “clearly deteriorating.”
Saudi officials have claimed they believe Iran is trying to sneak weapons into Yemen through aid ships, but despite a draconian search of all ships heading to Yemen, there have been no reports of any weapon finds. Despite this, the blockade seems set to continue, as Saudi officials would rather appear “tough on Iran” than reasonable.