Aid Agencies Call For an Immediate and Permanent Cease Fire as an Additional 70,000 People Flee Coalition Airstrikes in Northern Yemen

Fairfield, Conn. (May 10, 2015) — A group of 17 aid agencies* working in Yemen today condemned the growing intensity of airstrikes in the north of Yemen on 8th and 9th of May 2015, as an estimated 70,000 people including 28,000 children flee from the northern Governorate of Sa'ada. In the last 24 hours the coalition has hit Yemen with 130 air strikes.

"The indiscriminate attacks after the dropping of leaflets urging civilians to leave Sa’ada raises concerns about the possible pattern being established in breach of International Humanitarian Law," said Save the Children’s Country Director in Yemen, Edward Santiago. "Warning civilians does not exonerate the coalition from their obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and we have seen in the last days that the warnings have not been enough to spare civilian lives. At the same time people are largely unable to flee for safety because of the de facto blockade imposed by the coalition leading to severe fuel shortages."

The aid agencies also noted Friday's announcement by the Saudi led Coalition of a temporary pause in air strikes for a five day period from Tuesday, 12 May 2015. The Country Director of Norwegian Refugee Council Yemen, Hanibal Abiy Worku said "We are concerned that the ongoing intensive bombing of Sa'ada Governorate will do little to encourage all parties to conflict to abide by the preconditions of the ceasefire. Furthermore, even if a five day ceasefire goes ahead, the overwhelming scale of humanitarian needs on the ground means that it will make little difference to the lives of millions of increasingly desperate people.

The Country Director of CARE International in Yemen, Daw Mohamed said: "There is an urgent need to halt hostilities in order to move humanitarian aid to the country. All parties concerned should also come forward to work out a long term political solution to the problem".

The aid agencies call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire by all parties to the conflict as the only way to end the suffering of millions of innocent lives. An end the de-facto blockade is also essential to allow in essential of life-saving assistance and to deal with the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

*Yemen INGO Forum, Danish Refugee Council, Oxfam, International Medical Corps, Care, ACTED, MercyCorps, Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council, Relief International, World Relief, Islamic Relief, Search for Common Ground, InterSOS, ADRA, Handicap International, Global Communities

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