BEIRUT (AP) — A truce that went into effect in April in war-torn Yemen has not improved humanitarian conditions in the country and the Russia-Ukraine war is causing children to die of hunger, the regional director of a prominent aid group said Friday.
In an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut a week after visiting Yemen, Hossam Elsharkawi said the war in Ukraine has lead higher on fuel, wheat and food prices.
“Price hikes are unbearable. The situation in Yemen was already catastrophic before Ukraine, now it’s a hundred times worse,” said Elsharkawi, of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “Children are dying in Yemen. They’re not just suffering, they’re dying from hunger.”
He added that the “worse than catastrophic” conditions in Yemen requires his organization to increase “efforts in our humanitarian work.”
The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies..
A two-month truce between the internationally recognized government and the Iran-backed Houthis that took effect April 2 was extended for an additional two months on June 2.
“Unfortunately, the situation in Yemen has not improved since the truce,” said Elsharkawi.
Elsharkawi said polluted water is a key problem in recent weeks.
Fighting in Yemen erupted in 2014, when the Houthis descended from their northern enclave and took over the capital, forcing the government to flee into exile in Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition entered the war in early 2015 to try to restore the government to power.
The conflict, which eventually descended into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has killed over 150,000 people, including over 14,500 civilians. The result has been one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, pushing millions of Yemenis to the brink of famine.
The U.N. special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, told the council earlier this week that he plans to explore the possibility of a longer truce with the country’s warring parties. He said an extension could be a good step in moving toward a cease fire in the country’s eight-year civil war.