Humanitarian disaster: 16 million Yemenis have no clean water
Saudi-led, US-sponsored bombing campaign has destroyed public infrastructure.
Almost two thirds of the Yemeni population, a total of 16 million people, have no access to drinking water due to aerial bombing, fighting and lack of fuel in the country, Oxfam warned today.
Oxfam said in a statement that the population is being forced to drink unsafe water due to the destruction of public infrastructure, which increases the risk of life-threatening diseases like malaria, cholera and diarrhea.
Millions of people are digging wells for water, which is then taken away by truck and whose price has tripled in recent weeks.
Before the start of the current conflict, 13 million people or about half the population had no access to potable water, but the violence has raised that figure to three million more.
The director of Oxfam in Yemen, Grace Ommer said that the population at risk is equivalent to that of the cities of Berlin, London, Paris and Rome together.
In the streets the trash continues to pile up, people have to go through broken sewers while having to face the reality of not having drinking water for the seventh consecutive week, regretted Ommer, who also reported fuel shortages and lack of medical supplies.
Large parts of the water supply network have been damaged due to the fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdo Rabu Mansur Hadi. The conditions worsened even more after the bombing of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia.
In some rural areas of the provinces of Hach and Al Hodeida 40% of the drinking water is not used.
The local authorities of eleven cities, including Sana’a, Aden and Al Hodeida, have asked humanitarian organizations to provide them with some two million liters of fuel to continue pumping water.
Residents of the city of Taiz, contacted by Oxfam, noted serious water shortages and dependence on trucks, but that fuel shortages and fighting lengthen to four or five days the full distribution water while its price continues to soar.
“A serious outbreak of disease is imminent if the water and sanitation problems are not addressed. Hospitals are struggling to keep running without fuel, drinking water and medical supplies,” warned Ommer in the note.
The head of Oxfam said that Yemen “needs a cease-fire urgently as well as the opening of trade routes” to avoid a health disaster.
The conflicting parties agreed to a humanitarian truce this month, which proved to be too little time to allow the delivery of food, fuel and water. In some cases, Saudi and American controlled groups blocked the arrival of supplies to the millions of people who are in dire need all over the country.