Amnesty: Houthis blocking vital hospital supplies in Taez

Amnesty International described ‘blocking humanitarian aid’ as ‘a serious violation of international humanitarian law’

Published: Updated:

Amnesty International warned on Tuesday that the Iran-backed Houthi militia group and its allied forces are endangering “the lives of thousands of civilians” in the southern Yemeni city of Taez after its stopping entry of necessary medical and food supplies in the past three month.

The NGO organization’s report, citing testimony gathered by 22 residents and medical staff, said “most of the city’s hospitals have shut down and the few that remain open are on the verge of collapse due to a lack of supplies.”

It added: “One resident’s new-born baby died hours after he was born because of severe oxygen shortages at the city’s hospitals.”

James Lynch, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International, said the Houthis are “deliberately” barring the entry of these crucial supplies to Yemen’s third largest city.

“The Houthi forces appear to be deliberately barring the entry of civilian goods, including vital medical supplies and food, fueling a humanitarian crisis with devastating consequences for residents of Taez,” said Lynch.

The director described “blocking humanitarian aid” as “a serious violation of international humanitarian law.”

“Residents are effectively trapped within an enclave of Taez and depriving them of basic necessities amounts to collective punishment of the civilian population,” he added.

All routes into and out of Taez are controlled by the Houthis and its allies, but al-Duhi crossing to the west of the city remains open on an intermittent basis, leaving residents largely trapped inside.

After speaking to five doctors, Amnesty said they need “more anaesthetics, oxygen and surgical instruments to treat patients injured during ongoing fighting between Houthi and anti-Houthi armed groups inside the city.”

The organization said about 80 percent of shops in Taez are closed and the prices of smuggled goods have soared, with basic supplies now costing around four or five times the usual local rate.

Bread, staple food in Yemen, has doubled in price, Amnesty said.