Caught in the crossfire, Sudanese civilians face a humanitarian emergency

Special Caught in the crossfire, Sudanese civilians face a humanitarian emergency
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Sudan already faced acute problems before the outbreak of violence late last week. (AFP)
Special Caught in the crossfire, Sudanese civilians face a humanitarian emergency
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Sudan already faced acute problems before the outbreak of violence late last week. (AFP)
Special Caught in the crossfire, Sudanese civilians face a humanitarian emergency
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Destroyed vehicles are seen in southern Khartoum on April 19, 2023 amid fighting between Sudan's regular army and paramilitaries following the collapse of a 24-hour truce. (AFP)
Special Caught in the crossfire, Sudanese civilians face a humanitarian emergency
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A column of smoke rises behind buildings near the airport area in Khartoum on April 19, 2023, amid fighting between the army and paramilitaries following the collapse of a 24-hour truce. (AFP)
Special Caught in the crossfire, Sudanese civilians face a humanitarian emergency
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Sudanese army soldiers loyal to Abdel Fattah al-Burhan man a position in Port Sudan, on April 20, 2023. (AFP)
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Civilians rally behind Sudan's army headed by Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan, on April 20, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
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Updated 28 April 2023
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Caught in the crossfire, Sudanese civilians face a humanitarian emergency

Caught in the crossfire, Sudanese civilians face a humanitarian emergency
  • Millions of civilians were in desperate need of assistance even before the latest eruption of deadly violence
  • Political turmoil, economic woe, intercommunal violence and drought had already brought Sudan to the brink

JEDDAH: Already reeling from decades of conflict and political turmoil, the recent sudden outbreak of fighting in Sudan between rival military factions threatens to plunge swathes of the population into an even greater humanitarian disaster.

On April 15, after weeks of tensions, clashes broke out in the capital Khartoum, between the Sudanese Armed Forces of Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces of Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti.

Videos have emerged showing passenger planes on fire on the aprons at the city’s international airport, while fighter jets fly overhead. Buildings can be seen riddled with bullet holes and the roar of artillery is heard across the capital.

 

 

“The sudden eruption has disrupted life in the capital city,” Abdullah Mukhtar, a resident of Khartoum, told Arab News. His family home has been without electricity since the fighting began.

He said: “Between 70 and 80 percent of people in the capital are daily wage workers, and if they lose their wages, they’ll have to provide somehow, and as we heard and saw, there’s much looting. The neighborhood is in total darkness as well as nearby areas.

“The supermarkets are deserted and looted, and the people are experiencing one suffering after another. Frankly, there is no assistance whatsoever provided anywhere in the city except through some citizen initiatives. It’s a war zone and it’s very dangerous.

“I haven’t seen any humanitarian assistance from either side, nor have I seen any international organizations, which is understandable. How can they reach the capital when the airport has been deemed technically not suitable for landing aircraft?”

Millions of Sudanese civilians, now caught in the crossfire between the two rival factions, were already in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, much of which has been suspended since the 2021 military coup.




Sudan already faced acute humanitarian problems before the outbreak of violence late last week. (AFP)

Thousands have left the capital and many are still trying to flee the violence. The UN refugee agency said on Thursday that between 10,000 and 20,000 people have fled Sudan’s western Darfur region in the past few days, seeking refuge in neighboring Chad, a nation that already hosts more than 370,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur.

For years, Sudan’s humanitarian situation was in a precarious state due to decades of sanctions, economic deterioration, intercommunal violence, extreme weather events linked to climate change, and political turmoil.

Even before the latest bout of fighting, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated around 15.8 million people among Sudan’s 45.6 million (2021) population would require humanitarian assistance in 2023, up from 1.5 million in 2021.

Of these, around 11 million required emergency assistance for life-threatening conditions related to physical and mental well-being.

Aid officials now fear the situation will grow even worse.




Sudan already faced acute food problems before the outbreak of violence late last week. (AFP)

“I am most concerned about the potential for the current conflict to spiral into a full-blown civil war with other regional actors getting involved and supplying further weapons. This would not only lead to more civilian deaths, but also cut off access to aid for millions already in need,” Daniel Sullivan, Refugees International’s director for Africa, Asia, and the Middle East told Arab News.

“Fighting, shelling, and aerial bombardments in urban areas have caused scores of civilian deaths and cut people off from food, water, and access to medical care. Some progress had been made in providing aid and addressing accountability and preparations for return to civilian rule, but the latest violence has destroyed any positive momentum. Perhaps most worrying, the fighting has cut off aid groups from reaching millions of people already in need of assistance,” added Sullivan.

INNUMBERS

45.6 million Population of Sudan (2021).

15.8 million Facing acute food insecurity.

3.6 million Internally displaced people.

As an advocacy group, Refugees International does not have humanitarian operations in Sudan. Sullivan said there was some concern for local and international partner groups which had been forced to suspend activities and, in some cases, had come directly under fire. 

He added: “The fighting in Sudan has cut off food delivery and driven aid organizations to suspend their activities and could put millions more in danger of food insecurity.”

On April 19, Sudanese Ministry of Health officials warned of a “total collapse” as 16 hospitals went out of service. According to OCHA, hospitals in Khartoum were running out of medical supplies because of looting and resources not being delivered.

“The government, the state, provides 1 percent of the population with the necessary services, medical and health, because the state itself is in a very fragile state, we cannot say a failed state. It doesn’t provide the necessary needs to the Sudanese people,” Ahmed Gurashi, a senior editor at Al Arabiya News channel, told Arab News.

 

“The shortage and the deficiency in the system was there before. But now, we do anticipate a crisis after this. I mean, Allah knows when the Sudanese could overcome this crisis. After the crisis, things will be revealed. (It will be) huge, it is a catastrophe in the making.”

Asma Yassin, a Sudanese medical volunteer in Khartoum, told Arab News that the situation was challenging as “most hospital staff evacuated the hospitals and patients were returned to their families.”

Meanwhile, all volunteer operations have been halted due to the streets being deemed unsafe.




People fill barrels with water in southern Khartoum on April 22, 2023, amid water shortages caused by ongoing battles between the forces of two rival Sudanese general. (AFP)

“We hear that there’s shortage in vital medicines such as insulin and Ventolin, and a shortage of ventilators and oxygen.

“Several makeshift clinics at private homes were erected that supply these medicines to patients, and some Sudanese abroad have even transferred money to supply the medication.

“But it’s very difficult as most districts (in Khartoum) have been left without electricity or water since Saturday as the water stations have been hit and workers are not able to reach the stations to get them operational again,” Yassin said.

Despite the efforts of aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations, Yassin pointed out that Sudanese volunteers were doing their best to provide relief to some neighborhoods by delivering water by truck. “But not everyone is lucky,” she added.

“When you say a catastrophe, sometimes people will say it is an exaggeration, describing the very reality of the Sudanese people,” said Gurashi. “If the injured don’t have access (to services), they will die. When you want to describe the very necessary needs there, (even) if you have money, you cannot get it, you cannot obtain it.

“If this conflict is going to end in Khartoum, in the heart of Khartoum, we will find too many, literally, old people who have died of lack of access to medicine, lack of access to healthcare. Other people who were injured or needed help during this time will definitely pass away because no service will be provided to them, and no access to services will be possible. This is the most awkward problem.”

International aid distribution was disrupted this week after three World Food Programme employees were killed during the fighting, which caused the UN-backed body to halt operations.

In a statement following the deaths, the WFP’s executive director, Cindy McCain, said: “Aid workers are neutral and should never be a target.”




Cindy McCain

For much of its history, Sudan has been wracked by internal strife, including two of the longest-running civil wars on the African continent and the conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile.

These conflicts have shattered the nation’s infrastructure, disrupted its agricultural sector, and undermined public health, particularly in relation to nutrition and food security.

Long before the fighting broke out on April 16, the availability of food, medicine, and social development projects was limited, requiring external emergency assistance every year since 1984.

The situation has been made worse by the yawning inequality in the distribution of wealth and power between the center and the periphery, routine mass displacements, and the almost constant blight of drought.

Sudan has endured repeated and prolonged droughts from 1980 to 1984, 1985 to 1993, 1996, 2001, and most recently last year, which have led to severe shortages of food and destroyed livelihoods in farming, a sector that not only provides food but also alleviates poverty.

Agriculture generates 35 to 40 percent of Sudan’s gross domestic product, according to the World Bank, and employs between 70 and 80 percent of the labor force in rural areas, where around 65 percent of the population lives.

Without oil revenues, growth has faltered, while the country’s debt problem remains unresolved. Poverty and malnourishment, which were already severe, have now worsened.

After the 2019 military coup that overthrew Omar Al-Bashir, a transitional government took over, carrying out ambitious economic and social reforms and engaging in peace negotiations with armed groups.

In 2021, Sudan received approval from the International Monetary Fund for relief on more than $56 billion in debt and new IMF funding worth $2.5 billion over a period of three years.

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Saudi Arabia and the UAE also agreed to send $3 billion worth of aid, $500 million of which was deposited in the Sudanese central bank and the rest delivered in the form of food, medicine, and goods.

However, the promising start was soon disrupted in 2021 when the military launched another coup, resulting in the suspension of development and debt relief programs and a return to political deadlock.

Aid agencies fear the latest violence will also lead to further displacement. According to OCHA, Sudan hosts around 1.1 million refugees from other countries — constituting one of the largest refugee populations in Africa.

Among these are more than 800,000 South Sudanese and around 126,000 Eritreans.

However, Sudan also counts about 3.6 million internally displaced people, mainly in the Darfur region, which has experienced volatility and bouts of ethnic cleansing for almost two decades. Some 4 million Sudanese live in neighboring Egypt.




In this October 9, 2019 picture, Sudanese queue to receive humanitarian aid supplies at a camp for internally displaced people in Darfur's state capital Niyala. With workers from aid agencies fleeing the war in Sudan, the humanitarian crisis is feared to worsen. (AFP File)

According to reports in the New York Times, more than 15,000 people have already fled the Darfur region into Chad.

For Khartoum residents such as Mukhtar, who have found themselves caught in the crossfire, fleeing the country may be the only option to guarantee their safety — a luxury not everyone can afford, nor a risk everyone is willing to take.

With gunfire in the background, Mukhtar said: “Everyone is on edge, and the situation has reached boiling point for people in the city.

“Those who made it out are safer. It’s the ones who can’t leave, it’s the sick who will suffer most because of the lack of healthcare services, and the unprivileged.”

 


Five killed in Syria’s Homs after being targeted by ‘terrorist group’ -state media

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Five killed in Syria’s Homs after being targeted by ‘terrorist group’ -state media

Five killed in Syria’s Homs after being targeted by ‘terrorist group’ -state media
CAIRO: Five civilians were killed in Syria’s Homs countryside after being targeted by a “terrorist group,” the Syrian state news agency SANA said on Friday, citing a police source.
The victims had been gathering truffles when they were attacked, SANA reported.

Scores killed overnight in Gaza amid negotiations in Paris for truce

Scores killed overnight in Gaza amid negotiations in Paris for truce
Updated 24 February 2024
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Scores killed overnight in Gaza amid negotiations in Paris for truce

Scores killed overnight in Gaza amid negotiations in Paris for truce
  • UN aid body for Palestinians, UNWRA, says Gazans are ‘in extreme peril while the world watches on’
  • The Paris talks come after plan for post-war Gaza by Israeli prime minister drew criticism from the US

Gaza Strip: More than 100 people were reported killed early Saturday in overnight strikes across Gaza, as Israel’s spy chief was in Paris for talks seeking to “unblock” progress toward a truce and the return of hostages held by Palestinian militants.
The Paris negotiations come after a plan for a post-war Gaza unveiled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew criticism from key ally the United States and was rejected by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas on Friday.
They also come as fears for civilians in the territory are deepening, with the UN warning of the growing risk of famine and its main aid body for Palestinians, UNWRA, saying early Saturday that Gazans were “in extreme peril while the world watches on.”
AFP footage showed distraught Gazans queuing for food in the territory’s devastated north on Friday and staging a protest decrying their living conditions.
“Look, we are fighting each other over rice,” said Jabalia resident Ahmad Atef Safi. “Where are we supposed to go?“
“We have no water, no flour and we are very tired because of hunger. Our backs and eyes hurt because of fire and smoke,” fellow Jabalia resident Oum Wajdi Salha told AFP.
“We can’t stand on our feet because of hunger and lack of food.”
In a Friday night statement on social media platform X, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA said: “Without adequate food and water supplies, as well as health and nutrition services, the elevated risk of famine in #Gaza is projected to increase.”
The war started after Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official figures.
Hamas militants also took hostages, 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 30 presumed dead, according to Israel.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 29,514 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest count by Gaza’s health ministry on Friday.
An Israeli air strike Friday destroyed the Gaza home of well-known Palestinian comedian Mahmoud Zuaiter, killing at least 23 people and injuring dozens more, the health ministry said.
The ministry announced early Saturday that at least 103 more people were killed in strikes overnight, with many others believed to be missing under rubble.
Netanyahu on Thursday night presented his war cabinet with a plan for the post-war Gaza Strip that envisages civil affairs being run by Palestinian officials without links to Hamas.
The plan stipulates that, even after the war, the Israeli army would have “indefinite freedom” to operate throughout Gaza to prevent any resurgence of terror activity, according to the proposals.
It also states that Israel will move ahead with a plan, already under way, to establish a security buffer zone inside Gaza along the territory’s border.
The plan drew criticism from the United States, with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby saying Friday that Washington had been “consistently clear with our Israeli counterparts” about what was needed in post-war Gaza.
“The Palestinian people should have a voice and a vote... through a revitalized Palestinian Authority,” he said, adding the United States also did not “believe in a reduction of the size of Gaza.”
Asked about the plan during a visit to Argentina, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would “reserve judgment” until seeing all the details, but that Washington was against any “reoccupation” of Gaza after the war.
Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan dismissed Netanyahu’s plan as unworkable.
“When it comes to the day after in the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu is presenting ideas which he knows fully well will never succeed,” Hamdan told reporters in Beirut.
Meanwhile, an Israeli delegation led by David Barnea, head of the Mossad intelligence agency, was in Paris on Saturday for a fresh push toward a deal to return the remaining hostages.
Barnea will be joined by his counterpart at the domestic Shin Bet security agency, Ronen Bar, Israeli media reported.
The United States, Egypt and Qatar have all been deeply involved in past negotiations aimed at securing a truce and prisoner-hostage exchanges.
Pressure has been mounting on Netanyahu’s government to negotiate a ceasefire and secure the hostages’ release after more than four months of war, with a group representing the captives’ families planning what it billed as a “huge rally” to coincide with the Paris talks on Saturday night to demand swifter action.
The United States, Egypt and Qatar have all been deeply involved in past negotiations aimed at securing a truce and prisoner-hostage exchanges.
White House envoy Brett McGurk held talks this week with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, after speaking to other mediators in Cairo who had met Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.
A Hamas source said the new plan proposes a six-week pause in the conflict and the release of between 200 and 300 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 35 to 40 hostages being held by Hamas.
Barnea and his US counterpart from the CIA helped broker a week-long truce in November that saw the release of 80 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
US National Security Council spokesman Kirby had told journalists earlier that so far the discussions were “going well,” while Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz spoke of “the first signs that indicate the possibility of progress.”


Strikes kill dozens in Gaza as Israel, Hamas seek ceasefire deal

Strikes kill dozens in Gaza as Israel, Hamas seek ceasefire deal
Updated 24 February 2024
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Strikes kill dozens in Gaza as Israel, Hamas seek ceasefire deal

Strikes kill dozens in Gaza as Israel, Hamas seek ceasefire deal
  • The talks also come alongside deepening fears for Gaza’s civilians desperate for food
  • “We didn’t die from air strikes but we are dying from hunger,” said a sign held by one child

GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: Dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been killed in the latest Israeli strikes, the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry said Saturday, after Israel’s spy chief joined talks in Paris seeking to unblock negotiations on a truce.
The talks come after a plan for a post-war Gaza unveiled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew criticism from key ally the United States, and was rejected by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The talks also come alongside deepening fears for Gaza’s civilians desperate for food. The United Nations’ main aid body for Palestinians, UNRWA, said Gazans were “in extreme peril while the world watches.”
Hamas said on Saturday that Israeli forces had launched more than 70 strikes on civilian homes in Gazan cities including Deir Al-Balah, Khan Yunis and Rafah over the previous 24 hours. The health ministry said at least 92 people were killed.
Israel’s military said it was “intensifying the operations” in western Khan Yunis using tanks, close-range fire and aircraft.
“The soldiers raided the residence of a senior military intelligence operative” in the area and destroyed a tunnel shaft, a military statement said.
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that has ruled Gaza since 2007, said fighting was raging in the northern Gaza district of Zeitun.
In nearby Jabalia refugee camp, tempers are rising and on Friday dozens of people held an impromptu protest.
“We didn’t die from air strikes but we are dying from hunger,” said a sign held by one child.
In the camp, bedraggled children waited expectantly, holding plastic containers and battered cooking pots for what little food is available. Residents have taken to eating scavenged scraps of rotten corn, animal fodder unfit for human consumption and even leaves.
Gaza’s health ministry said a two-month-old baby identified as Mahmud Fatuh had died of “malnutrition.”
“The risk of famine is projected to increase as long as the government of Israel continues to impede the entry of aid into Gaza,” as well as access to water, health and other services, the charity Save the Children said.
Israel has defended its efforts to deliver aid into Gaza, saying that 13,000 trucks carrying aid have entered Gaza since the start of the war.
The UN humanitarian agency OCHA said in a report on Friday that in Rafah, near the Egyptian border, people are reportedly stopping aid trucks to take food, a measure of their desperation.
The war began after Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official figures.
Hamas militants also took hostages, 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 30 presumed dead, according to Israel.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 29,606 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest tally released on Saturday by Gaza’s health ministry.
With war still raging after more than four months, Netanyahu on Thursday unveiled a plan for post-war Gaza that sees civil affairs being run by Palestinian officials without links to Hamas.
The plan says that, even after the conflict, Israel’s army would have “indefinite freedom” to operate throughout Gaza to prevent any resurgence of terror activity, according to the proposals.
It also says Israel will move ahead with a plan, already underway, to establish a security buffer zone inside Gaza along the territory’s border.
A senior Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, said Netanyahu “is presenting ideas which he knows fully well will never succeed.”
The plan also drew criticism from the United States.
“The Palestinian people should have a voice and a vote... through a revitalized Palestinian Authority,” which currently has partial administrative control in the West Bank, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
He added that the United States did not “believe in a reduction of the size of Gaza.”
An Israeli delegation led by Mossad intelligence agency chief David Barnea traveled to Paris for a fresh push toward a deal to return the remaining hostages.
The United States, Egypt and Qatar have all been deeply involved in past negotiations aimed at securing a truce and prisoner-hostage exchanges.
Pressure has mounted on Netanyahu’s government to negotiate a ceasefire and secure the release of the hostages. A group representing their families planned what it billed as a “huge rally” to demand swifter action, coinciding with the Paris talks on Saturday night.
“We keep telling you: bring them back to us! And no matter how,” Avivit Yablonka, 45, whose sister Hanan Yablonka was captured on October 7, said at a traditional Shabbat dinner for hostage families in Tel Aviv.
White House envoy Brett McGurk held talks this week with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, after speaking to other mediators in Cairo who had met Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.
A Hamas source said the new plan proposes a six-week pause in the conflict and the release of between 200 and 300 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 35 to 40 hostages being held by Hamas.
Barnea and his US counterpart from the CIA helped broker a week-long truce in November that saw the release of 80 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
The war has led to repeated attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen who say they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.
Rubymar, a British-registered cargo ship abandoned in the Gulf of Aden after one such attack, is taking on water and has left a huge oil slick.


US downs three Houthi drones, strikes anti-ship missiles

US downs three Houthi drones, strikes anti-ship missiles
Updated 24 February 2024
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US downs three Houthi drones, strikes anti-ship missiles

US downs three Houthi drones, strikes anti-ship missiles
  • Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis have been targeting shipping for months and their attacks have persisted despite repeated American and British strikes

Washington: American forces shot down three attack drones near commercial ships in the Red Sea Friday and destroyed seven anti-ship cruise missiles positioned on land, the US military said.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis have been targeting shipping for months and their attacks have persisted despite repeated American and British strikes aimed at degrading the rebels’ ability to threaten a vital global trade route.
Early on Friday, US forces “shot down three Houthi one-way attack (drones) near several commercial ships operating in the Red Sea. There was no damage to any ships,” the Central Command (CENTCOM) said on social media.
In a statement later in the day, CENTCOM said US forces destroyed “seven Iranian-backed Houthi mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that were prepared to launch toward the Red Sea.”
It said those strikes , carried out between 12:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Sanaa time, were made in self-defense.
“CENTCOM forces identified these missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the US Navy ships in the region,” it said in a statement.
The day prior, American forces struck four Houthi drones as well as two anti-ship cruise missiles, CENTCOM said, adding that the weapons “were prepared to launch from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the Red Sea.”
The Houthis began attacking Red Sea shipping in November, saying they were hitting Israel-linked vessels in support of Palestinians in Gaza, which has been ravaged by the Israel-Hamas war.
US and UK forces responded with strikes against the Houthis, who have since declared American and British interests to be legitimate targets as well.
Anger over Israel’s devastating campaign in Gaza — which began after an unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7 — has grown across the Middle East, stoking violence involving Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.


US warns of environmental disaster from cargo ship hit by Houthi rebels

US warns of environmental disaster from cargo ship hit by Houthi rebels
Updated 24 February 2024
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US warns of environmental disaster from cargo ship hit by Houthi rebels

US warns of environmental disaster from cargo ship hit by Houthi rebels
  • The Belize-flagged Rubymar was damaged Sunday by a missile strike claimed by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels
  • It was transporting 41,000 tons of fertilizer when it was attacked, says Roy Khoury, the CEO of Blue Fleet CEO

WASHINGTON: A cargo ship abandoned in the Gulf of Aden after an attack by Yemeni rebels is taking on water and has left a huge oil slick, in an environmental disaster that US Central Command said Friday could get worse.

Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, British-registered and Lebanese-operated cargo ship carrying combustible fertilizer, was damaged in a Sunday missile strike claimed by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Its crew was evacuated to Djibouti after one missile hit the side of the ship, causing water to enter the engine room and its stern to sag, said its operator, the Blue Fleet Group.
A second missile hit the vessel’s deck without causing major damage, Blue Fleet CEO Roy Khoury told AFP.
CENTCOM said the ship is anchored but slowly taking on water and has left an 18 mile oil slick.
“The M/V Rubymar was transporting over 41,000 tons of fertilizer when it was attacked, which could spill into the Red Sea and worsen this environmental disaster,” it said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
The ship’s operator said Thursday the ship could be towed to Djibouti this week.
Khoury said the ship was still afloat and shared an image captured on Wednesday that showed its stern low in the water.
When asked about the possibility of it sinking, Khoury had said there was “no risk for now, but always a possibility.”
The attack on the Rubymar represents the most significant damage yet to be inflicted on a commercial ship since the Houthis started firing on vessels in November — a campaign they say is in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza during the Israel-Hamas war.
The Houthi attacks have prompted some shipping companies to detour around southern Africa to avoid the Red Sea, which normally carries about 12 percent of global maritime trade.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development warned late last month that the volume of commercial traffic passing through the Suez Canal had fallen more than 40 percent in the previous two months.