Yemen Crisis: UN issues fresh aid appeal as 3,000 cases of dengue fever confirmed

The World Health Organisation estimates 80 per cent of the population need humanitarian aid

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The Independent Online

The UN has launched a fresh appeal for $1.6bn (£1.07bn) in aid for Yemen as the country is hit by an outbreak of dengue fever.

3,000 cases of the deadly disease have been reported in the Arab world’s poorest country since March which is in the midst of a growing humanitarian crisis as it is suffering from a continued Saudi-led blockade to stem the advance of Houthi rebels in the country.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently believes 21 million people, or 80 per cent of the population, need humanitarian aid as the blockade has lead to sever fuel, water and medicine shortages.

The spokesperson for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha), Amanda Pitt, told the Guardian on Thursday the organisation’s appeal would “highlight the significantly increased aid and protection needs across the country”.

She said the appeal was “aimed at all or any donors, be they governmental, private sector or individuals, to raise the funds needed to carry out vital aid activities.”

She said promised aid from Saudi Arabia had not arrived despite the kingdom saying it would cover the full $27.4m requested in an earlier “flash appeal” for aid back in April.

“We are continuing to work with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the modalities of transferring the humanitarian funds that were pledged to help the people of Yemen,” she said “Of course we cannot speak on behalf of donors or determine decisions made by them with regard to timing, recipients, or other factors related to humanitarian funding.”

Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes and can cause fever, headaches and skin rashes. It is especially lethal in children and can cause abdominal pain, vomiting and difficulty breathing.

A Yemeni health ministry official in the southern city of Aden told the Associated Press that there were mountains of uncollected garbage and sewage lining the streets which has contributed to the crisis.

The Houthi rebels, from a sect of Shia Islam and backed by Iran, took control of the capital Sana’a last year and drove the country’s president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.

A Saudi led coalition of Sunni Islamic states in the region launched an aerial campaign against the rebels in March.

More than 2,500 people have been killed in the fighting and 11,000 have been injured, according to reports.