Keith Vaz: There has been more coverage of Love Island than civil war in Yemen

The Labour MP has called on Theresa May to raise the country’s plight at the UN in September

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Tuesday 08 August 2017 09:45 BST
A cholera outbreak has hit more than 300,000 people in the country
A cholera outbreak has hit more than 300,000 people in the country (Reuters)

A Labour MP has said that the reality TV show Love Island has been reported on more widely over the summer than the brutal conflict in Yemen.

Keith Vaz said more coverage of the civil war which has claimed thousands of lives and created an urgent humanitarian disaster is needed.

He called on Theresa May to raise the issue with at the United Nations and for urgent action to avoid a catastrophic failure in the Middle Eastern country.

For more than two years Saudi Arabia and its allies have been fighting the Iran-backed Yemeni rebel group that evicted the Saudi-supported government from the country’s capital.

Writing for the Politics Home website, he said: “We must generate more coverage of Yemen by consistently raising the issue.

“There has been more coverage of Love Island this summer than on the tragic events in Yemen and we must work hard to ensure the population is aware of the event.”

The UN has warned of a major famine, a widespread cholera outbreak that has hit more than 300,000 people and reported at the start of 2017 that 10,000 people had died in the fighting.

But Mr Vaz said that with an escalation in the Saudi-led bombing campaign and rampant disease, an estimated further 2,000 Yemeni men, women and children are estimated to have died in the last 15 days alone.

He said: “For over two years the conflict between the Saleh-Houthi forces and the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi has ripped the country apart. Civilian infrastructure is destroyed, millions are refugees or internally displaced, thousands have died and Yemen’s ungoverned spaces have become safe havens for radical jihadist groups to germinate, plan and grow.

“Yemen is a stain on the collective morality of the United Kingdom, the US, the EU and ultimately on the UN itself. It will remain so until we take action to end this man-made catastrophe.”

He called on the Prime Minister to raise the issue at the 12 September meeting of the UN and in particular to “openly question” Saudi Arabia if access for humanitarian aid continues to be in question.

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