UN chief warns Yemen in imminent danger of famine

UN chief warns Yemen in imminent danger of famine
People queue to collect food rations at a food distribution center in Sanaa, Yemen. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 20 November 2020

UN chief warns Yemen in imminent danger of famine

UN chief warns Yemen in imminent danger of famine
  • US threatens to blacklist Houthis as part of its ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran
  • UN officials are trying to revive peace talks to end the war

NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that war-torn Yemen “is now in imminent danger of the worst famine the world has seen for decades.”
Guterres warning comes as the United States threatens to blacklist Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi militia as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. Aid workers have raised fears such a move would prevent life-saving aid reaching the country.
“I urge all those with influence to act urgently on these issues to stave off catastrophe, and I also request that everyone avoids taking any action that could make the already dire situation even worse,” Guterres said in a statement.
An Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Houthis. UN officials are trying to revive peace talks to end the war as the country’s suffering is also worsened by an economic and currency collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the absence of immediate action, millions of lives may be lost,” Guterres said.
The United Nations describes Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of the people in need of help.
A senior Western diplomat said a designation of the Houthis by the United States designated the Houthis “would certainly not contribute to progress on Yemen.” “It’s likely that they want to do whatever it takes to increase the pressure on Iran,” said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.
UN aid chief Mark Lowcock has said the United Nations has received less than half of what it needed this year — about $1.5 billion — for its humanitarian operations in Yemen. Last year it received $3 billion.
The Human Rights Office in Sanaa said the Houthi militia committed more than 24,000 violations against children, including murder, kidnapping and recruitment, Al Arabiya reported.
“We call on the international community to protect the children of Yemen from Houthi violations,” the office said.
Meanwhile, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber said that the Kingdom will resume its consular work at the embassy after a suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ambassador said in a tweet that the move was part of the Kingdom’s initiatives to support the Yemeni people in all governorates to provide them with job opportunities.
Al-Jaber also said that from mid-2018 up until the COVID-19 pandemic, the embassy issued more than 135,000 work visas, which have helped them “take care of their families in Yemen and transfer hard currency to support the Yemeni economy.”
(With Reuters)


Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
Updated 23 January 2021

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
  • The statement said the UAE was communicating with Danish authorities “to clarify the details and cases”

COPENHAGEN: The UAE said on Friday it was in talks with Denmark after the Nordic country temporarily halted all flights arriving from the Gulf Arab state, a major travel hub, due to potentially unreliable coronavirus tests in Dubai.

Denmark’s transport ministry said the five-day travel restrictions, comes after concerns were raised about the coronavirus tests administered in Dubai before departure. It added it had taken the decision after a detailed tip-off, without elaborating.
“All accredited UAE testing centers are regularly subject to strict quality checks,” the UAE foreign ministry said, adding there are severe penalties for non-compliance with international standards to ensure the highest level of quality in testing.
The statement said the UAE was communicating with Danish authorities “to clarify the details and cases” behind the decision in order to guarantee the safety of all travelers.
Denmark earlier this month made it mandatory for travelers to show a negative test from the previous 24 hours before departure toward Denmark from all countries.
Late on Friday, Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Twitter 50 persons with COVID-19 had flown in from Dubai in January alone. 33 of those arrived after Denmark made it mandatory to test negative for COVID-19 before departure.
Several Danish celebrities, including former footballer Nicklas Bendtner, were criticized earlier this month after Danish media reported they had traveled to regional tourism hub Dubai on holiday despite the government advising against going abroad to limit the spread of the coronavirus.