'Call the Saudi Crown Prince as a matter of urgency'

                           Cranes in the port of Hodeida (Photo courtesy of Reuters)

                           Cranes in the port of Hodeida (Photo courtesy of Reuters)

The blockade of Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition risks turning the world's worst humanitarian crisis into an even greater catastrophe. Yesterday the blockade was eased to allow humanitarian supplies - whilst welcome the effect of this will be modest. Commercial supplies including of fuel are still being blocked

Yemen is a country that remains in the grip of medieval diseases and is on the precipice of a biblical famine. 7 million Yemenis are at the immediate risk of extreme famine and Yemen is experiencing the largest ever recorded outbreak of Cholera. Food and fuel supplies are still being blocked by the Saudi-led coalition. Without fuel, many of the basic services needed to keep people alive aren’t running at all, including hospital generators and sewage processing plants. Although urgent humanitarian aid is now trickling back into Yemen, it is nowhere near enough to meet the needs of the desperate and starving Yemenis on the brink of death.

The Saudi-led Coalition needs to reopen all ports and airports immediately to allow for life-saving food and supplies to make their way to a population desperate for help. The next step should be the resumption of commercial shipping into Yemen to allow food stocks to be replenished. This next step is critical and should begin as soon as possible.   Innocent civilians should not be paying with their lives for this blockade to continue.

Moreover, it is strategic stupidity to believe that what has been described as possible collective punishment of an entire population into famine will make Saudi Arabia safer. The Houthi rebels they are battling have publicly vowed revenge for the blockade. Continued violations against Yemeni civilians give an easy PR win to those who profit from prolonging the conflict.

I urge the Prime Minister to call the Saudi Crown Prince as a matter of urgency and demand the full lifting of the blockade. The longer the blockade stays in place the greater the risk that even more of Yemen's people will face lose their lives