Thousands of Yemenis in Houthi besieged district face starvation, officials say
AL-MUKALLA: Thousands of Yemenis in Al-Abedia district in Marib are at risk of starving to death due to an ongoing Houthi siege, local officials said on Wednesday.
The siege forced government troops and local tribesmen to surrender, with Iranian-backed militia barring residents from leaving and entering the district and preventing life-saving humanitarian aid from reaching people.
At the same time, the militia stepped up shelling of residential areas and government fortifications with missiles, mortar shells and heavy machine guns.
Aid organizations and local officials said more than 30,000 people, mostly women and children, faced mass starvation as food ran out in grocery stores. There were also fuel and medicine shortages, they said.
“Al-Abedia is under siege (Houthi), shelling and assault on the ground,” Khaled Al-Shajani, deputy head of the Marib office of the Executive Unit for IDP camps, told Arab News.
He said local organizations had not sent humanitarian aid as the Houthis tightened their grip on the entrances to the neighborhood.
More than three dozen patients with terminal illnesses such as cancer were at risk of death because the Houthis did not allow them to search for drugs outside the district and obstructed the distribution of drugs to local health facilities, local officials said. .
Al-Shajani urged international humanitarian organizations with offices in Yemen to convince the Houthis to lift the siege of Al-Abedia or send aid through Qania district.
The Marib office of the Human Rights Ministry warned of a health crisis in Al-Abedia as residents were forced to drink contaminated water and more than 2,465 severely malnourished children had a urgent need for medication.
The Houthis abducted 3,278 people who attempted to leave or enter the district, planted thousands of landmines and disrupted the education of 8,392 students, the ministry said in a report.
Al-Shajani said residents resisted the idea of ââfleeing their homes, putting their weight behind government troops defending the neighborhood. âThe main reason for the district’s resistance against the Houthi assaults is the support of the people,â he said.
Local media reported that the Houthis reneged on promises to open humanitarian corridors in the district in exchange for the recovery of the bodies of at least a dozen fighters, following mediation by local dignitaries.
But, in violation of the deal, the Houthis quickly tightened the siege after receiving the bodies.
Government officials have urged international organizations and powerful countries to break their silence and condemn the Houthi bombings and attacks on civilians, mainly in Marib.
Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani said on Tuesday that the silence had encouraged militias to commit more crimes.
“The continued recklessness of the international community in the face of daily massacres and atrocities committed by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia against civilians in Marib province is giving the militia negative signals to continue its crimes and violations. “, did he declare.
Heavy fighting between troops and the Houthis erupted in Marib and Taiz provinces on Wednesday, local officials said.
The Houthis have stepped up their attacks on government troops in areas south of Marib, as Arab coalition warplanes disrupted attempts to strengthen the militia.
Fighting also raged for the second day in the southern city of Taiz, as the Houthis attacked the city’s western edges to gain control of a strategic road that connects it to Aden.