Leading charity urges warring parties in Yemen to extend truce

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CAIRO (AP) – An international charity urged Yemen’s warring parties on Tuesday to extend a two-month trucecalling on parties to the conflict to work together to avert “catastrophic hunger” in the war-torn country.

Oxfam said the UN-brokered ceasefire is essential for millions of Yemenis suffering from a lack of basic services and soaring prices for food and other goods. The charity’s Yemeni director, Ferran Puig, said the truce had brought “a long-awaited sense of hope that we can break the cycle of violence and suffering in Yemen”.

“The opportunity to extend the truce and push for a lasting peace must be seized if we are to avoid the risk of millions of Yemenis being forced into acute starvation,” Puig said. The ceasefire, which came into effect on April 2, expires on Wednesday evening.

Later Tuesday, around three dozen aid groups working in Yemen joined Oxfam’s appeal, saying in a joint statement to the warring parties that “the gift for a better life for the people of Yemen is between your hands”.

The truce was the first national ceasefire in the past six years of Yemen’s civil war, a conflict now in its eighth year. The fighting erupted in 2014 when Iran-backed Houthi rebels descended from their northern enclave and took control of the capital of Sanaa, forcing the internationally recognized government to flee. A Saudi-led coalition went to war in early 2015 to try to restore the government to power.

In recent weeks, the UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, has intensified efforts to renew the truce. He tweeted on Monday that an extension was “essential to consolidate the benefits granted thus far and provide space for progress towards a political settlement.”

However, Grundberg’s efforts have been hampered by the Houthis’ refusal to lift their ground blockade of the government city of Taizthe third from Yemen.

The truce provisions included the reopening of routes around Taiz, the establishment of two commercial flights per week between Sanaa and Jordan and Egypt, and also allowing 18 ships carrying fuel into the port of Hodeidah. Sanaa and Hodeida are controlled by the rebels.

Fighting, airstrikes and shelling have diminished during the truce, which began in early April, and rebels have ceased cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two mainstays of the Saudi-led coalition. Saudi Arabia.

The war in Yemen has killed more than 150,000 people, including more than 14,500 civilians. It has now created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

The UN has warned that 19 million people out of Yemen’s 32 million population would face hunger in 2022including 160,000 likely to suffer from “near starvation conditions”.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Yemen by affecting global food supplies and driving up food prices. Yemen imports 90% of its food, including more than 42% of its wheat from Ukraine, Oxfam said.

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