The heads of three UN agencies have issued a joint statement on Thursday calling on Saudi Arabia to end its protracted blockade of the Yemeni coast, warning that “untold thousands” will die soon if it is not lifted.
The Saudi-led blockade has been in place to varying degrees since early 2015, causing widespread shortages and many deaths. Lack of medicine led to what is believed to be the worst cholera epidemic in history, killing thousands. Northern Yemen has since run out of most cancer medicine, and insulin, with warnings from doctors that the death tolls for people with certain illnesses would quickly escalate to total extermination.
Even the “untold thousands” warning is just a near-term estimation, with northern Yemen down to its last few weeks of food, and chronic malnutrition across the region could very quickly lead to a famine threatening to kill millions.
Saudi Arabia has made no indication any easing is coming in the north, saying they were open to reopening “loyal” ports in the far south, but also bombing north Yemen’s lone airport to ensure no one tries to deliver medicine by plane.