Sana’a, 11 April 2017 On 9 April, despite long-standing humanitarian access restrictions, I was able to enter Taiz City and gain a first-hand impression of the humanitarian situation.
Compared to the last time I was in the city over 9 months ago – and in spite of its current status as an active conflict zone – markets seemed busier with more people, more vehicles were on the roads and many more shops and restaurants were open. Local relief committee members and hospital managers stressed that a recent reduction in the fighting has allowed some semblance of normalcy to return to this hard hit city, allowing some of the partially functioning hospitals to conduct minor repairs.
However, they also stressed that lives are being lost to preventable diseases. Hospitals and feeding centers struggle to cope due to problems with salary payments, insufficient essential supplies, and lack of medicines. Increasing malnutrition rates, particularly in children, are worsening the already difficult humanitarian situation.
I now call on parties to the conflict to build on the momentum of this recent visit by helping to establish a predictable and regular access mechanism to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need across Taiz. I further call on them to ensure that the mechanism does not only cover Taiz City but also helps to improve humanitarian access to the rural areas in the governorate, where the need is also great.
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