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4 Nov, 2018 05:01

Saudi-led Yemen strikes destroy UK aid with British bombs – Oxfam slams London’s ‘incoherent’ policy

Saudi-led Yemen strikes destroy UK aid with British bombs – Oxfam slams London’s ‘incoherent’ policy

Humanitarian aid projects funded by Oxfam in Yemen have repeatedly been bombed by the Saudi-led coalition, the British charity said, slamming the government for refusing to halt their support and weapon supplies to Riyadh.

Coalition airstrikes hit a vital cholera medical facility in Abs, Hajjah province in June despite being notified about the treatment facility on more than 12 occasions, the Independent reported. In April, the jets also struck a water supply system which impacted the livelihood of at least 6,000 people in a country that is suffering one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the 21st century.

READ MORE: Saudis, UAE pressured UN for favorable media coverage in exchange for Yemen aid – report

The revelations about the strikes on charity-funded facilities in Yemen emerged following this week’s parliamentary debates in the House of Commons, where British lawmakers were trying to evaluate the impact of UK arms sales to the Saudis. During the hearing on Tuesday, Oxfam’s Dina el-Mamoun revealed that UK aid to the war-torn country is being bombarded.

“On the one hand, British aid is a vital lifeline, on the other, British bombs are helping to fuel an ongoing war that is leading to countless lives being lost each week to fighting, disease and hunger,” Oxfam’s head of advocacy, Toni Pearce, told the Independent following the International Development Committee hearing.

Referring to London’s policy towards Yemen as “irresponsible and incoherent”, she noted that the UK's ongoing arms sales to Riyadh are contributing to the destruction of scarce food supplies, hospitals and homes, as well as “aid programs funded by British taxpayers.”

The UK Government had been widely criticized for its continued support of Saudi Arabia and its arms supplies, which contributed to the destruction of vital infrastructure and mounting civilian casualties. And since Britain makes billions on these arms sales, over the last three years London has repeatedly dogged the pressure to cut arms deals to the Saudis.

At the same time, despite UK’s hand in exacerbating the crisis, the country has also spent more than £400mn in aid to the country throughout the course of the war. As a potential way out of the spotlight, Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday backed the American call for a “ceasefire” in Yemen, even though the record of the US supporting the Saudis, no matter what, undermines whatever peace initiative they may now try to promote.

Official UN figures say that more than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the Saudi-led bombing campaign began in March 2015. Yet Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) believes that at least 56,000 people have lost their lives in the war. The violence has also left around two-thirds of Yemen’s population of 27 million relying on aid amid the ongoing strict naval and aerial blockade of the country by the coalition.

The conflict has impacted over seven million children in Yemen who now face a serious threat of famine, according to UNICEF figures announced this week. Over 6,000 children have either been killed or sustained serious injuries since 2015, UN children’s agency said. The humanitarian situation in the country has also been exacerbated by outbreaks of cholera, polio, and measles.

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