Citing international law, the United Nations appealed Friday for there to be a "humanitarian pause" each day in Yemen amid the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes against the Yemini Houthi Shiite rebels that have been going on in the region for weeks. If accepted, the stoppage of fighting would last for several hours each day and allow innocent civilians to escape the conflict and let humanitarian efforts be conducted safely, the U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator in Yemen said.
Johannes Van Der Klaauw demanded an "immediate humanitarian pause in this conflict" for "a few hours at least" daily, noting that the airspace over the region is not safe for humanitarian flights to deliver aid, Agence France-Presse reported. The Red Cross was able to deliver medical supplies to Yemen on Friday after one of its planes landed safely with "16 tons of medical aid," Al Arabiya News reported. It was the first such successful delivery of aid to the region amid the conflict.
— Robert Mardini (@RMardiniICRC) April 10, 2015
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that “The crisis has only multiplied in recent days.” He cited a lack of security for civilians not participating in the conflict as one of the primary reasons for needing the temporary stoppage of fighting.
“Ordinary Yemeni families are struggling for the very basics -- water, food, fuel and medicine," Ban said. "Hundreds of civilians have been killed. Hospitals and schools are shutting down -- some of which are direct targets of the fighting.”
Various nations and organizations have for days been requesting that the U.N. ask for the pause in fighting. Russia presented a draft of a resolution that seeks "regular and obligatory" breaks in the fighting for "rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches people in need," the Associated Press reported. However, Russia and Venezuela rejected a resolution by the U.N. that would prevent arms from being delivered to the Houthi Shiite rebels in the region.
The U.N. estimated that children comprised about one-third of fighters in Yemen, and Unicef said that nearly 80 children have been killed and more than 40 injured since March 26, the Guardian reported.