Fuel crisis hits Yemen's capital

2017-11-08 22:01


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Sana'a - Hundreds of cars lined the main roads of Yemen's capital on Wednesday after the rebels who control the city ordered fuel stations to close, accusing merchants of taking advantage of a Saudi blockade to hike prices.

A Saudi-led military coalition tightened its blockade in Yemen this week after a ballistic missile fired by Houthi rebels was intercepted near the Saudi capital. Aid groups say the measures will exacerbate an already severe humanitarian crisis in the impoverished, war-torn country.

Fuel prices have spiked by 50% since Monday. Hassan al-Zaydi, a spokesperson for the Houthi-run Oil Ministry, said merchants had refused orders to keep prices fixed, prompting authorities to shut down the fuel stations.

A UN official said aid agencies were given no prior notice of the Saudi decision to shut down all land, air and seaports in the country, and had learned about it from media.

Supports the rebels

"It will aggregate the already dire humanitarian situation," said George Khoury, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen.

"We want to be crystal clear to the international community. Any disruption will have catastrophic consequence on the lives of hundreds of thousands people and children," he said.

Every month, at least seven million people depend on life-saving UN aid. Khoury said 10 UN ships in the Red Sea ports of Hodeida and nearby Salef have been ordered to depart.

A Saudi-led coalition has been at war with the Houthis, a Shi'ite group supported by Iran, since March 2015. Saudi Arabia blamed Saturday's missile strike on Iran, which supports the rebels but denies arming them.

The United States, which supports the coalition, echoed those allegations on Wednesday, saying Iran had supplied the rebels with advanced weapons, including ballistic missiles.

Read more on:    un  |  yemen

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