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Yemen ‘ceasefire’ period ends: “Warring parties could not even lay down their weapons for two weeks”

23 April 2020 | Save the Children

23 April 2020 - Today is the last day of a unilateral ceasefire declared by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. The ceasefire was meant to give Yemen the chance to focus on a possible Covid-19 outbreak, but it was broken in a day. 

Since the ceasefire was declared on April 9th, at least 38 civilians have been killed or maimed, including five children who were killed and six who were wounded. In 29 cases, houses were hit1.

In response to the continuing violence during this period Amanda Brydon, Save the Children Humanitarian Advocacy Adviser, said:

“It is hugely disappointing that the warring parties could not even lay down their weapons for two weeks to fend off the most imminent threat Yemen is facing: a possible covid-19 outbreak. This demonstrates a complete lack of political will from all involved in this terrible conflict, for which civilians pay the highest price day in, day out.

“Barely one day after the ceasefire was announced, the first case of covid-19 was confirmed in the country. Besides violence, disease, malnutrition and recent heavy floods, which can cause outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and Dengue fever, Yemenis now face the possible spread of the Coronavirus.

“With only half of health facilities fully functional and just 500 ventilators available across the country, Yemen is undoubtedly not prepared for a covid-19 outbreak.

“Our teams on the ground are working hard to support communities in these dire times, but you can’t fight a virus whilst coming under attack or supply a hospital when roads are routinely targeted. How can we expect families to get to a health facility, or buy hygiene products when they fear for their lives on the street?

“We call on all parties to fully implement a ceasefire as soon as possible, so the Yemeni people can focus their energy on preventing an outbreak. The ceasefire should be used to work towards a sustainable peace and a political solution to this war – it’s the only way to truly end this humanitarian crisis.

“In recent days the UK has made welcome announcements of new funding to help families in Yemen, as well as calling for a ceasefire. But sadly it isn’t enough. The government needs to use all its diplomatic channels to let warring parties know the international community is united and enough is enough.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • This was the second ceasefire announcement since the start of the Covid19 global pandemic.
  • Yemen announced its first positive case of the virus on April 10. 
  • Save the Children has spokespeople available for interview. Please contact d.stewart@savethechildren.org.uk / +44 (0) 20 3763 0119.

1. According to preliminary data from the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project (CIMP), between April 9th 2020 and April 20th. The CIMP is a mechanism for the collection, analysis and dissemination of open source data on the civilian impact from armed violence in Yemen, in order to inform and complement protection programming. It’s run as a service under the United Nations Protection Cluster.

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