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UN Humanitarian Chief: 'Incomprehensible' Suffering in Yemen

  • VOA News

Stephen O'Brien, under-secretary-general and emergency relief coordinator for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, leaves the Sanaa airport after a press conference in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015.

Stephen O'Brien, under-secretary-general and emergency relief coordinator for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, leaves the Sanaa airport after a press conference in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015.

The United Nations humanitarian chief calls the scale of suffering in Yemen "incomprehensible" and warns that unless the fighting ends soon, "there will be nothing left to fight for."

Stephen O'Brien briefed the Security Council Wednesday on his just completed trip to Yemen, saying he is shocked by what he saw.

"Four out of five Yemenis require humanitarian assistance and nearly 1.5 million people are internally displaced. More than 1,0000 children have been killed or injured and the number of young people recruited or used as fighters is increasing," he said.

O'Brien condemned what he called the disregard for human life by all parties in the fighting. He decried the damage to major port cities which he says are the main lifelines for bringing in basic goods.

"Airports and seaports need to remain open and be used for both commercial imports and humanitarian supplies, without restrictions," O'Brien said.

Saudi-led Arab coalition airstrikes have been targeting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who control the capital, Sana'a and much of northern Yemen. The flow of Saudi weapons to pro-government fighters has led to some success against the Houthis.

But O'Brien says civilians are feeling the brunt of the fighting

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