CORRECTED: WHO planning major aid delivery during Yemen ceasefire

15th December 2015, Comments 0 comments

The World Health Organization on Tuesday outlined plans to take advantage of a ceasefire in Yemen to distribute medical supplies across the crisis-hit country.

The WHO representative in Yemen, Ahmed Shadoul, told reporters in Geneva that the UN agency had received assurances from the warring factions that its staff were free to move with the supplies while the ceasefire holds.

"We have requested unconditional movement of supplies, personnel and teams to all parts of the country and we got the confirmation that this will definitely be granted," Shadoul said.

Yemen's healthcare system has been devastated by the conflict pitting pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition against Huthi rebels supported by Iran.

Attacks on health facilities and a lack of vital supplies, especially fuel, have posed major problems but Shadoul stressed that limited access to hard-hit areas has been one of the greatest challenges for health workers.

Shadoul said WHO had prepared "around 19 trucks which will be distributed to different parts of the country, probably to 14 locations."

He said he believed those trucks had already left warehouses in Sanaa and in the southern governorate of Aden.

A key priority was Taez in the southwest, where oxygen and trauma kits were due to be dispatched.

The operation was on track despite reported breaches in the ceasefire that came into effect earlier on Tuesday, Shadoul said.

WHO was also aiming to move some 150 metric tons of material from Djibouti, the delivery of which has been complicated by restrictions on imports imposed by the rival factions.

A national polio vaccination campaign has also been scheduled from December 19 to 23, targeting around five million Yemeni children, provided health workers are free to move around.


© 2015 AFP

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