Sources revealed that Saudi Arabia confiscated a shipment of medicines and medical equipment while it was on its way to the temporary Yemeni capital, Aden, to fight the Coronavirus pandemic.
The sources said that Saudi security services seized the shipment, which was ordered by international relief organizations, and ordered its confiscation without providing any justifications.
The shipment includes, according to sources, thousands of face masks and types of antibiotics collected by relief organizations through donations for civilians in Yemen.
This comes in light of international warnings of the risks of the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic and calls by senior officials from several United Nations agencies of the international community to provide urgent international financial support to the war-torn Yemen.
“We are increasingly concerned about the situation in Yemen,” officials from the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF, the World Food Program and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement. They added, “We are running out of time.”
The United Nations says the COVID-19 virus is likely to have spread to most parts of Yemen, which is mired in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world due to a war that has no sign of ending.
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said that $2.4 billion should be raised by the end of the year for Yemen, including $180 million to fight the pandemic.
“Yemen is in dire need of assistance,” said Muhannad Hadi of the World Food Program, while UNICEF Director Henriette Faure warned of a “major catastrophe.”
More than 12 million children in Yemen need humanitarian aid. Before the outbreak, two million children lacked schools.
The United Nations stated that testing and reporting are still limited and it is possible that most, if not all, regions of the country have already been affected.
The conflict in Yemen killed tens of thousands, including a large number of civilians, according to humanitarian organizations, especially since the start of the operations of the Saudi-led military coalition against the Houthis in March 2015.
The Saudi regime sought to cover up its severe shortcomings in the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen by announcing that it was organizing a virtual donor conference along with the United Nations.