UNICEF warns impeding aid delivery in Yemen will lead to starvation

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Yemen has been at war since March 2015, when Houthis occupied northern Yemen, forcing the government into exile. "We must do all we can to prevent the already dire conditions from deteriorating", said the United Nations chief in a press conference on Friday, Press TV reported.

The only response at all from their camp was from Yemeni officials backed by the Saudis, who embraced the idea of peace talks, but similarly showed no signs of stopping fighting in the meantime.

On Friday, AFP news agency reported that fierce battle between forces loyal to Hadi and Houthi fighters near Hodeidah resulted in the death of at least 34 rebels and six pro-government troops.

Earlier on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Houthi rebels should pause fighting and begin negotiations on a possible peace deal.

The airstrikes in Sanaa came days after a USA call for an urgent halt to the Saudi-Iran proxy war in Yemen and the start of negotiations in November toward a political settlement of the conflict. The U.S. has sold billions of dollars' worth of arms to Saudi Arabia and provides logistical and other support to the coalition. Every 10 minutes a child dies of preventable diseases.

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Geert Cappelaere told The Associated Press in an interview from Yemen that recent USA calls for a cease-fire are imperative to ending the almost four-year war, which pits a Saudi-led coalition against Iran-aligned rebels known as Houthis.

"My objective is to appeal to the parties to the conflict to understand that there is an opportunity that must be seized, and to say that the humanitarian situation is so dire that if that doesn't happen" the world will have to deal with a starvation in Yemen next year, he said. "Today not more than 40 percent of the children throughout Yemen are being vaccinated", he said.

"Because of this brutal war, because of obstacles, obstructions being made, it is unfortunately not possible do much more", Cappelaere said.

The Saudi-led military campaign has drawn criticism from the United Nations over widespread civilian casualties, and helped push Yemen to the brink of starvation. Around 90% of Yemen's needs are imported from overseas.

"It's high time for authorities from both sides to take responsibility and enable that assistance without any conditions, without any hurdles", he said.

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