UN urges ‘humanitarian pause’ to deliver aid to Yemeni citizens

Jamie McGoldrick, UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen. (AP)
Updated 05 December 2017
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UN urges ‘humanitarian pause’ to deliver aid to Yemeni citizens

GENEVA: The UN on Tuesday called for a “humanitarian” truce in airstrikes and fighting in Yemen as it seeks to deliver aid to civilians trapped in the capital Sanaa.
“I ... sent a message asking for a truce, a peace pause, a humanitarian pause, for the parties to stop shooting, stop fighting, stop airstrikes, so the people can go to hospitals, can go to seek safety ... and go to also find a place for water and food,” UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick told reporters in Geneva by phone from Sanaa.
“Our ability to get to people over the last five days has been impeded because of the airstrikes, because of the fighting, and our life-saving support activities were blocked,” he said.
After the assassination, Saudi-led warplanes pounded the capital before dawn Tuesday as the rebels moved to consolidate their control over the city.
“What happened... because of our inability to move in the city during the five days — the UN agencies, Red Cross and NGOs — we were unable to do our life-saving treatments,” McGoldrick said.
“Now the uncertainty continues and despite what happened yesterday, we don’t know if we can start doing our operations or whether we have to wait for some time,” he added.
McGoldrick said a UN team would travel to Riyadh “quite soon.”
The body of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, which had appeared in a video by the militias with a gaping head wound, was taken to the city’s Houthi-controlled military hospital, but it was not immediately clear if the rebels would allow Saleh’s family to hold a funeral.
The gruesome images from the previous day sent shockwaves among Saleh’s followers — a grisly end recalling that of his contemporary, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, in 2011.
Saleh’s son Salah said on Facebook on Tuesday that he won’t receive condolences for his father’s death until “after avenging the blood” of the longtime strongman. Salah also urged his father’s followers to fight their former allies, the Houthis.
The fighting has brought new suffering to Sanaa’s residents; many said the night was shattered by the sounds of gunfire and children screaming.
Witnesses said the bodies of slain civilians and fighters littered the streets as no ambulances were able to reach the area.


Nobel laureate Murad to build hospital in her hometown in Iraq

Updated 15 December 2018
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Nobel laureate Murad to build hospital in her hometown in Iraq

  • The laureate was awarded the $1 million prize alongside Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege
  • She said she will use the money to “build a hospital in Sinjar to treat ill people, mainly widows and women”

SINJAR, Iraq: Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi woman held as a sex slave by Daesh militants who won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, said on Friday she intended to use the prize money to build a hospital for victims of sexual abuse in her hometown.
The Yazidi survivor was speaking to a crowd of hundreds in Sinjar, her hometown in northern Iraq.
“With the money I got from the Nobel Peace prize, I will build a hospital in Sinjar to treat ill people, mainly widows and women who were exposed to sexual abuses by Daesh militants,” she told the crowd and gathered journalists.
She thanked the Iraqi and Kurdistan governments for agreeing to her plan and said she would be contacting humanitarian organizations “soon” to start construction.
Murad was awarded the $1 million prize alongside Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
She was one of about 7,000 women and girls captured in northwest Iraq in August 2014 and held by Daesh in Mosul, where she was tortured and raped.
She escaped after three months and reached Germany, from where she campaigned extensively to appeal for support for the Yazidi community.
The Yazidi area in Sinjar had previously been home to about 400,000 people, mostly Yazidis and Arab Sunnis.
In a matter of days, more than 3,000 Yazidis were killed and about 6,800 kidnapped, either sold into slavery or conscripted to fight for Daesh as the religious minority came under attack.