Four years after Saudi Arabia led a military intervention in Yemen to back the government against rebels, the only hope for peace in a country threatened by humanitarian crisis hangs on a fragile truce. Yemen's warring parties exchanged heavy weapons fire overnight in Hodeidah, residents and military sources said, as the U.N. scrambled to salvage a ceasefire deal in the Yemeni port city that is a lifeline for millions at risk of starvation. The clashes were the heaviest since the ceasefire went into effect on Dec. 18, residents said, and came as the United Nations announced a deal setting out details of a mutual military withdrawal envisaged by the Stockholm truce accord.
The warring parties in Yemen met in Sweden in September of last year to put an end to the deadly war, which has claimed the lives of thousands and led to one of the worst humanitarian crises over the world. However, because disputes over the strategic town of Hodeidah and other main issues like the delivery of oil and the location of the central bank, the truce collapsed. The war in Yemen continues to claim lives every day despite the relatively calm atmosphere across the country. After the fragile truce over removing troops from the strategic town of Hodeidah collapsed, clashes continue in some parts of the country. In addition to the casualties caused by the clashes, the notorious humanitarian situation has led to the death of many, particularly children. "Since the Stockholm agreement on Dec. 13, it is estimated that eight children have been killed or injured in Yemen every day," the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned last week.
Despite the Saudis entering the conflict on March 26, 2015 with a coalition composed of nine countries from the Middle East and Africa, Yemen's internationally recognized government has failed to defeat the Houthis. The ongoing war has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with an estimated 24 million people, close to 80 percent of the population, in need of assistance and protection in Yemen, according to the U.N.
A United Nations humanitarian agency said yesterday that Yemen has witnessed a sharp spike in the number of suspected cholera cases this year, as well as increased displacement in a northern province. The report from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says 100,000 suspected cholera cases were found across Yemen from the beginning of the year until March, and over 190 people have died. Yemen has witnessed two outbreaks of cholera and acute watery diarrhea since 2016, with over one million suspected cholera cases and some 3,000 deaths recorded nationwide. The U.N. agencies have deployed cholera vaccines to limited areas starting Mary 2018.