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Millions at risk in Yemen due to second week of border closures: UN official
November 15,2017   By:Xinhua
GENEVA, Nov.15,2017-- The top humanitarian official in Yemen warned Tuesday that millions of people in the country remain at severe risk due to the worsening situation in the country due to the closure of land, sea and air borders.
"We have some 21 million people needing assistance and seven million of those are in famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid," U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick.
He spoke in a telephone interview to a UN briefing in Geneva, from Amman in Jordan due to access to Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, being blocked for a second week.
"The continued closure by the Saudi-led coalition of critical seaports and airports is aggravating an already dire humanitarian situation. I think it poses a critical threat to the lives of millions who are already struggling to survive."
He reiterated top UN officials' statements that Yemen's conflict, which began in March 2015, has produced the world's largest humanitarian crisis.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, also said it is alarmed at the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen.
Over the past week the closures have prevented humanitarian and commercial supplies, and restricted the movement of aid workers, said UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler.
"With commercial traffic flows hampered, prices for essential commodities including food, trucked water, household gas and fuel are all skyrocketing," said UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler.
He said that in Sanaa for instance fuel prices have reportedly increased by 60 percent and trucked water by 133 percent.
"Vulnerable populations including internally displaced people, refugees and asylum seekers are especially hard-hit," said the UNHCR spokesperson.
Two million internally displaced people, a million returnees and 280,000 refugees and asylum seekers are all struggling to survive through increasingly prolonged displacement, said Spindler.
"As conditions worsen more people are resorting out of desperation to strategies such as child labor, recruitment and early marriage," said Spindler.
At the same briefing World Health Organization spokesperson, Christian Lindmeier said, "WHO epidemiologists in the Yemen country office are observing an upsurge in suspected diphtheria cases."
As of Nov. 8, 18 suspected cases of diphtheria, including 11 deaths were detected from 10 governorates in Yemen.
He said WHO is planning to start a vaccination campaign for children under the age of five on Nov. 18.
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