humanitarian aid

Saudi Government Statement on Easing Blockade Reinforces Status Quo

Following an attempted Houthi ballistic missile strike on Riyadh, the Saudi government announced today that the coalition would continue “opening Hudaydah port to humanitarian and relief supplies and allowing the entry of commercial ships, including fuel and food vessels, for a period of 30 days to implement the proposals” of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen concerning vessel inspection measures at Hudaydah port. The announcement was intended to elicit relief and praise  from the international community. After the Houthis’ last attempted attack on Riyadh, the Saudi government made its partial blockade of Yemeni ports total, closing humanitarian and commercial access to Yemenis bearing the brunt of the nation’s humanitarian catastrophe. It’s tempting to think that the loud and continuous outcry of the international community, with late contributions from the United States and United Kingdom, has checked the Saudi government’s most punitive impulses.

Deep Root Report Describes How the Conflict in Yemen Has Impacted the Food Pipeline

Deep Root, a consulting firm focused on development in Yemen, recently published a report that details how the conflict has impacted the food pipeline. Around 60% of Yemenis are food insecure, and pockets of areas hardest-hit by the food insecurity crisis have reached the point of famine. This humanitarian disaster is caused by a multitude of factors; the livelihoods of civilians have been negatively impacted by the conflict, and many people are unable to pay for the increased prices of food and fuel.

Congress Establishes Oversight Over US Role in Yemen

On November 14, the House passed the conference bill of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. The finalized bill includes two provisions led by Congressman Ted Lieu that provide much-needed congressional oversight over the US’ role in Yemen, seeking to limit US participation in the war. The YPP applauds the passage of these provisions and thanks Representative Lieu for his tireless efforts to rein in US military involvement in Yemen’s civil war.

HRW: Saudi-led coalition and Houthi-Saleh forces obstruct aid

Human Rights Watch recently issued a detailed press release concerning violations of international human rights law in Yemen. Both the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi forces have obstructed the import and dissemination of critical aid for civilians, including fuel, medicine, food, and critical support infrastructure. According to Human Rights Watch, international humanitarian law (under Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, and customary international humanitarian law for a non-international armed conflict) requires warring parties to allow humanitarian personnel free movement. It also requires any warring party that imposes a blockade to do so in a manner that balances the anticipated military advantage with the potential harm to civilians. Human Rights Watch has identified numerous instances in which both parties to the conflict in Yemen have violated international humanitarian law, with devastating consequences for the civilian population.

The Project on Middle East Democracy : The Potential Impact of President Trump's Foreign Affairs Budget for the Middle East

The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) has released a report detailing the impact President Trump’s proposed budget will have on the Middle East and North Africa. Overall, the Trump administration’s budget request for FY18 proposes a 30% cut to foreign affairs funding. The budget is indicative of the Trump administration’s focus on the use of military force, with 80 percent of all foreign aid marked for military assistance. Humanitarian assistance faces a four percent funding cut, even as a number of conflicts spiral out of control and famine and disease ravage nations such as Yemen. The current budget requests only $35 million for Yemen, a nation that is currently dealing with massive food insecurity and the worst cholera crisis in the world. This represents a 37 percent decrease from FY17. According to the report, a decline in spending “may reduce the United States’ ability to respond to Yemen’s growing crisis.”

NGOs welcome UN Security Council Statement on Yemen: Words Must Now be Turned into Action

On Monday, 19 June 2017, the Yemen Peace Project, along with 10 other humanitarian and human rights organizations, released a joint statement commending the UN Security Council presidential statement on Yemen. The statement urges the UNSC to turn their words into action to end Yemen's suffering and find an immediate political solution to the conflict. 

UN Relief Chief and Mwatana Chair address UNSC meeting on Yemen

Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, delivered a statement to the United Nations Security Council during last Tuesday’s Council meeting on Yemen. O’Brien spoke of the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, warning that the situation there had become the world’s largest food security crisis and that lack of access to food and clean water created the conditions for the cholera epidemic. While he lauded the United Nations and its partners, along with medical personnel in Yemen, for their work to stem the spread of cholera and other diseases, he criticized the parties to the conflict for putting their own interests above the needs of the Yemeni people, explaining that both lack of access to food and disease are, in the case of Yemen, man-made phenomena that could be avoided if the parties were willing to negotiate an end the conflict.

YPP and 21 other NGOs call on UNSC to act now

Yesterday the Yemen Peace Project and 21 other NGOs sent a letter to all members of the UN Security Council calling on them to take immediate action to advance peace negotiations and address the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. The Council will meet to discuss the situation and hear an update from the UN Special Envoy on May 30. The full text of the letter is below.

UN Security Council must act to end man-made humanitarian crisis in Yemen

We the undersigned organisations call upon UN Security Council members to take action to bring about an immediate ceasefire in Yemen, end the humanitarian crisis and support the UN Special Envoy's efforts towards an inclusive political solution to the conflict.

April 4-10: Government forces position around Hudaydah, UN calls for protection of Port

Tuesday, April 4

Pro-Hadi forces in Yemen are gathering around the Port of Hudaydah and a senior military official reports that “only the timing remains to be decided” of an impending military operation in the area. It is possible that the Saudi-led coalition is waiting for approval from its Western allies before launching the offensive, according to Reuters. The International Rescue Committee, meanwhile, said that an attack on the port would have catastrophic effects on the Yemeni people.  

Meanwhile, CNN reports that US special operations forces have increased ground operations in Yemen in addition to the recent campaign of airstrikes in the country. The ground operations, which have not been publicly acknowledged by the Pentagon, are specifically aimed at covert intelligence gathering on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to CNN.

USAID's Yemen Country Study: Humanitarian assistance alone is not enough

USAID released a country study for Yemen in January, summarizing the findings of research conducted in 2016 on the effects of the ongoing conflict. The study focuses on a variety of facets of the Yemeni state, society, and the relationships between the two as the civil war continues, based on interviews conducted in seven different governorates. Research findings covered Yemeni views on the social contract between government and citizens, perceptions of authority figures, the security situation, provision of basic services, social cohesion and trust between citizens, dispute management, and international and civil society organizations.

OCHA Releases New Humanitarian Response Plan

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released their most recent Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Yemen last month. The document outlines the objectives OCHA hopes to achieve in the coming year, the number of people in need of assistance in Yemen, how many the organization will target for humanitarian assistance, and what resources are required to do so.

December 26-January 1: Disagreement over proposed UN peace deal continues into 2017

Monday, December 26 Al Jazeera’s closed bureau in San’a was raided by Houthi forces hours after the network aired a program about the group’s looting of heavy arms. Saeed Thabit, head of Al Jazeera's Yemen office, said in a statement on Facebook that the Houthis stole what was left of office equipment and furniture.

December 5-11: US calls for Hadi government to accept peace deal, Oxfam warns of increasing food crisis

Monday, December 5: Yemeni officials say that al-Qaeda has blown up Yemen’s only gas export line, which was located in Shabwa province and delivered gas from Marib to a port on the Arabian Sea.

November 28-December 4: Houthi formation of government elicits criticism, UN envoy struggles to restart talks

Monday, November 28: A Houthi political council announced that it has unilaterally formed a new government, a surprise and unwelcome move that will stifle the efforts of the UN envoy to Yemen who has been working towards creating a unity government.

October 24-30: Proposed peace deal rejected by Hadi, coalition targets Hudaydah prison

Monday, October 24Jordan’s Prime Minister Hani Mulki met with his Yemeni counterpart Ahmed bin Daghr in Amman to reassert his country’s support for “legitimacy in Yemen and efforts exerted to restore its stability and security.” Mulki also affirmed his support for a political solution to Yemen’s crisis.

New street art in San’a depicts the horrors of Yemen’s war and humanitarian crisis. One of the participating artists, Thi Yazan al-Alawi said, "We came up with this campaign because of the internal and external wars in Yemen, the economic crisis, all of these factors led to famine and poverty in Yemen.”

Tuesday, October 25 Saudi ambassador to the UK Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz wrote in The Daily Telegraph to say that there had been “an alarming change in the way Saudi Arabia is discussed in Britain” in the last few weeks.

The ambassador is referring to a recent move by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to cancel a £5.9 million prison consultancy contract with Saudi Arabia, due to concerns over human rights violations within the kingdom. Corbyn has also voiced objections of Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen.

Mr. Abdulaziz added, “If the extensive trade links between the two countries are going to be subordinate to certain political ideologies, then this vital commercial exchange is going to be at risk. We want this relationship to continue but we will not be lectured to by anyone.”

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed submitted a proposal for a peace plan to both parties. The plan stipulates that exiled president Hadi would be stripped of his authority and Houthi forces would need to withdraw from major cities.

“According to [a] Houthi-affiliated politician, the peace plan also includes transferring the powers of the internationally-recognized president to a new prime minister and a vice president, in addition to the formation of a national unity government, while easing out Houthis from cities under their control. The deal also suggests the formation of a team of international observers to supervise the militias’ withdrawal. It proposes a one to two-year-transitional period paving the way for presidential elections.”

General Joseph Votel, head of US Central Command, travelled to Riyadh to meet one-on-one with members of the House of Saud in an attempt to repair recent damage done to US-Saudi diplomatic relations.

Simon Henderson, a fellow at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, says “The administration — the White House — is thoroughly fed up” with the Saudi government. Similarly, “The Saudis want to see the back side of the Obama administration. They don’t mind too much whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, as long as it’s no longer Obama.”

Shocking photos of a starving and emaciated 18-year-old from al-Hudaydah were circulated this week, illustrating the desperate situation in Yemen’s port city and other parts of the country that are facing a severe shortage of food and medicine due to blockades imposed by both the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi forces.

Shipping group Teekay said one of its gas tankers "experienced a suspected piracy attack whilst off the coast of Yemen" near the Bab al-Mandeb Strait on Tuesday. None of the unknown assailants managed to board the vessel, which departed the strait safely.

British maritime security firm MAST said the assailants approached the tanker in a small boat and fired a rocket propelled grenade. MAST added that it is “unclear whether this is a terrorist attack or piracy.”

Wednesday, October 26 New York Magazine reports on some disturbing proposals made by Hillary Clinton’s national security advisor Michael Morell, who said that he “would have no problem from a policy perspective of having the U.S. Navy boarding [Iranian] ships, and if there are weapons on them, to turn those ships around,” referring to the reported weapons shipments to the Houthis.

As the article points out, forcibly boarding another nation’s vessels in international waters amounts to an act of war, which would likely drag the US further into the war in Yemen on the side of Saudi Arabia.

A call by the UK’s Labour party to withdraw support from the Saudi-led coalition failed to pass, after about half of the party, or 100 parliamentarians, abstained from voting. This resulted in a 283-193 vote rejecting the call to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia until an independent UN investigation into war crimes in Yemen was completed.

An article in Al-Monitor explores Turkey’s policies and positions relating to Yemen and how they have evolved since Saleh was ousted in 2012.

Thursday, October 27 Commander of US Naval Forces Central Command Kevin Donegan told NBC news that the US military believes Iran has supplied weapons to the Houthis, including coastal defense cruise missiles like the ones used in attempted attacks on a US vessel earlier this month. Donegan disclosed that the US and partner nations have intercepted five weapons shipments from Iran that were headed to the Houthis in Yemen.

Emily Thornberry, UK shadow foreign secretary, says she is disappointed with members of her party for abstaining from Wednesday’s vote, and disgusted with the Conservatives who voted against withdrawing support for Saudi Arabia.

“Yesterday’s motion gave us the opportunity to send the opposite message to the world … that, while Saudi Arabia will remain a valued strategic, security and economic ally in the years to come, our support for their forces in Yemen must be suspended until the alleged violations of international humanitarian law in that conflict have been fully and independently investigated. And until the children of Yemen have received the humanitarian aid that they so desperately need,”

Friday, October 28 Saudi Arabia accused Houthi forces of targeting the holy city of Mecca with a ballistic missile fired over Yemen’s border. The Saudi military claims to have intercepted the missile 65km from Mecca.

Houthi leadership strongly denies the accusation, saying that the Saudis are spreading propaganda to incite Muslims against the Houthis and to distract from their own crimes committed against the Yemeni people.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) fears that hunger will take a devastating toll on Yemen. The organization says it has provided food for more than 3 million people each month since February but is beginning to split these depleted rations so it can reach 6 million people every month.

"An entire generation could be crippled by hunger," says Torben Due, the program's director in Yemen.

According to the WFP, almost half of all children in Yemen are stunted, a sign of chronic malnutrition.

The Huffington Post interviews US officials, congressmen, and activists to assess Obama’s policy in Yemen following claims by his administration that the US would be reviewing its support of the Saudi-led coalition.

The International Office for Migration, affiliated with the UN, is launching an appeal for $150 million of urgent assistance for Yemenis in need of food, clean water, and medicine.

Saturday, October 29 A coalition airstrike hit a home in southwestern Ta’iz’s al-Salw district, killing 17 civilians, according to local officials and residents.

Exiled president Hadi met with UN Envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed in Riyadh, but refused to even receive the envoy’s proposed peace deal. The plan would reportedly require Hadi to resign and set up a government of less divisive figures.

"The ideas presented ... carry the seeds of war," a statement by the presidency quoted Hadi as saying. "It rewards the coup leaders and punishes the Yemeni people at the same time."

The World Health Organization reports that over 1400 suspected cholera cases have been declared in the last three weeks. The outbreak of the deadly disease is up from only eight cases earlier this month, and is largely due to the war’s impact on health facilities and a lack of clean water.

A car bomb detonated near the new location of Yemen’s central bank headquarters in Aden, injuring five. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sunday, October 30 Saudi-led airstrikes hit a prison and security site in al-Hudaydah, killing 60, including inmates. A statement released by the coalition said that the building was “used by Houthi militia and the forces of the deposed president as a command and control center for their military operations,” and claimed that “targeting protocols and procedures were followed fully.‎"

October 17-23: Three-day ceasefire begins and ends, airstrikes resume

Monday, October 17Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced that the coalition is prepared for a ceasefire: "We would like to see a ceasefire yesterday...Everybody wants a ceasefire in Yemen, nobody more so than the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the coalition members," Jubeir told reporters in London, adding that he was skeptical that a truce would hold.

Houthi publications show evidence of Spanish-made weapons being used by the rebels in Yemen, including a C90 grenade launcher manufactured by Instalaza and a BMR-600 military vehicle made by the Spanish company Enasa. El Pais reports that the weapons likely found their way into Houthi hands via Saudi Arabia, Spain’s biggest arms purchaser outside of Europe.

PBS NewsHour interviewed former US ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine in a segment on last week’s repeated targeting of the USS Mason in the Red Sea. Bodine says that the failed attack was “probably a direct retaliation for the Saudi bombing of the funeral hall,” but to the US, it was a “narrow act of self-defense”.

Tuesday, October 18 UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced a 72-hour ceasefire for Yemen starting Wednesday night. The ceasefire is subject to renewal and there are hopes that it will be the first step to resuming peace talks. 

There are reports that Egypt’s air force has withdrawn from the coalition in Yemen, but no official statement has been made confirming this.

Laura Kasinof writes for Slate, explaining why the widespread portrayal of Yemen’s crisis as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is misleading.

“The war in Yemen is more of an ongoing domestic power struggle that has spiraled out of control and was exacerbated by the political upheaval of the Arab Spring. When outside countries became involved militarily, Yemen was wedged into the pressure cooker of Middle East geopolitics, making it even harder to reach a modicum of peace.”

Wednesday, October 19 A 72-hour ceasefire began just before midnight on Wednesday following a day of intensified airstrikes on army barracks in the capital by the Saudi coalition. The coalition says it will respect the ceasefire if the Houthi forces do as well, and will allow humanitarian aid to be delivered.

The UN says it is ready to deliver aid as soon as ceasefire begins, but humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick is calling for an extension to the ceasefire, emphasizing that three days is not nearly enough time to deliver the necessary aid.

Deutsche Welle provides an outline of Yemen’s conflict and the various players while presenting possible outcomes for this week’s ceasefire. Vincent Durac, Middle East expert at the School of Politics & International Relations in Dublin told DW, “...there is a certain fatigue on both sides, and that could lead each to the conclusion that continued fighting will not create new advantages.”

The press secretary for Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs attempted to assure the public that there is no reason to believe that Canadian weapons are not being used in the commission of war crimes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, allowing the country’s billions of dollars worth of arms sales with the kingdom to continue.

Britain’s minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood says that Saudi Arabia did not authorize the October 8 attack on a funeral hall in San’a, saying that an individual deliberately “breached” procedure and will now be disciplined.

Speaking to BBC’s Daily Politics about criticism of the UK’s relationship with the kingdom, Ellwood said that, "We do sell arms to Saudi Arabia, this is a legitimate war that's taking place, endorsed by the UN resolution 2216.”

Prime Minister Theresa May was questioned by a member of parliament about the UK’s role in Saudi war crimes, but she declined to give assurances that British-made weapons have not been used by the coalition to target civilians. May claimed that “the Saudi Arabian government have properly investigated these issues,” adding that “we press for proper investigations into what has happened on those incidents before we reach a decision or a conclusion on what has happened in relation to those incidents. We do have a very strong relationship with Saudi Arabia that is important for this country – it is important in terms of dealing with counter terrorism and a number of other issues.”

Thursday, October 20 On the first day of the ceasefire, Saudi Arabia claimed that the Houthis committed dozens of violations of cross-border shelling, with one attack killing two Saudi citizens. Meanwhile, Houthi officials charged the coalition with launching an airstrike that killed three civilians.

Al Jazeera reports that a total of at least 11 people were killed in the first day of the ceasefire, undermining the truce that was meant to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Those killed include five pro-government fighters in Sa’dah and Hajjah provinces and three rebels who died in attacks in al-Hudaydah.

A number of American, Yemeni, and other officials told Reuters that Iran has stepped up its weapons shipments to the Houthis using smuggling routes in Oman. One US official said that they are bringing “anti-ship missiles, explosives... money and personnel.” None of the officials quoted, including an Iranian diplomat confirming the claims, were named.

Oman’s Foreign Minister Yousef bin Alwi said last week that there was "no truth" in the claim.

Meanwhile, spokesperson for the US Department of State John Kirby evaded a question about Oman allowing the smuggling of weapons, saying that “we’ve been very clear about our concerns with all of the partners in the region, including Oman, regarding the risks that these weapons used in these kinds of attacks pose to maritime traffic in the Red Sea, and also the risks that future incidents could inadvertently expand the conflict in Yemen.”

Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop has confirmed that Craig Bruce McAllister, a football coach working in San’a, has been kidnapped by an unnamed group. A video was released following his capture, showing McAllister saying he was kidnapped and that the group is demanding a ransom.

Friday, October 21 Accusations of ceasefire violations continue, with Saudi Arabia saying that the Houthis have fired rockets into Saudi territory and launched attacks inside Yemen, while the rebels claim that the coalition has struck a number of sites in the border region of Shad.

The UN sanctions monitors told the Security Council that the Saudi-led coalition violated international humanitarian law when it used a “double-tap” airstrike on a funeral gathering earlier this month, killing over 140 people.

"The second air strike, which occurred three to eight minutes after the first air strike, almost certainly resulted in more casualties to the already wounded and the first responders," the UN monitors said.

State department spokesperson John Kirby was repeatedly questioned at a press conference about the outcome of the US review of support for the Saudi-led coalition. Kirby did not reveal details of the the review, but claimed it is ongoing.

The US Department of Defense announced that military strikes in Yemen have killed eight alleged al-Qaeda operatives. The first strike, on October 6, killed two operatives, while another on October 16 killed six. Both strikes took place in Shabwah governorate in central Yemen.

Saturday, October 22 The UN is seeking an extension to the three day ceasefire, which was scheduled to end at midnight on Saturday. An extension of the truce seems unlikely amid accusations of violations by both sides. General Ahmed al-Asseri, spokesperson for the coalition and commander of the Saudi 4th Brigade on the border in Najran, told Reuters his forces were defending against an attack by the Houthis.

"The violation of the truce was not from our side. It was from the other side. We are continuing to thwart them," Asseri said. "In the last 48 hours there was an enormous push by the enemy against our territory."

The Liberal Democrat party revealed that the UK has been training the Saudi Air Force, adding another dimension of British support to the Saudi-led coalition’s campaign in Yemen. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the Royal Saudi Air Force was helped in order to “improve their targeting processes.”

Sunday, October 23 Coalition airstrikes and cross-border shelling by the Houthis resumed at dawn following the end of the ceasefire. Military sites in San’a in the Hafa camp to the east and in the Nahdein area in the south were targeted, along with radar positions in al-Hudaydah and in Ta’iz, residents reported.

UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick commented on the ceasefire, saying that the UN, the Red Cross and MSF have, for the first time, had three straight days to provide food and health support to San’a without the threat of airstrikes.

Robert Fisk writes about the Saudi coalition’s intentional targeting of Yemen’s farmland and the destruction of rural livelihood.

“...there is substantial evidence emerging that the Saudis and their “coalition” allies...are deliberately targeting Yemen’s tiny agricultural sector in a campaign which, if successful, would lead a post-war Yemeni nation not just into starvation but total reliance on food imports for survival.”

October 3-9: Airstrike at San’a funeral kills 140; US and UAE vessels targeted in Red Sea

Monday, October 3French-Tunisian aid worker Nourane Houas, who was kidnapped last December outside San’a by unidentified armed men, has been released and transported to Oman. Houas was working with the International Committee of the Red Cross. The organization says it will not comment on the identity of the men who abducted her.

A senior State Department official commented anonymously to the Washington Post about criticism by lawmakers and human rights groups of coalition abuses in Yemen.

“It’s that offensive warfare that raises a lot of questions in policymakers’ minds. Does an ally have to give you a blank check for everything you’re doing in a war?”

“When we see civilian casualties, it puts us in an extremely awkward position, because Saudi Arabia is a close ally,” another US official remarked.

US officials also said that repeated Saudi strikes on civilians are “errors of capability or competence, not of malice.”

Tuesday, October 4 The Houthis have expressed their unwillingness to pursue a deal unless it includes “an agreement on the new presidential institution,” meaning the removal of exiled president Hadi from the political process.

"If the proposal does not include an agreement on the new presidential institution, then it [the UN peace plan] becomes merely a partial and incomplete vision, which cannot be a foundation for discussion,” the statement published by Saba news agency read.

Two articles in the Guardian this week describe the scenes of starvation and illness in San’a and al-Hudaydah. UN humanitarian aid chief, Stephen O’Brien, visited the Red Sea port city, where he met “very small children affected by malnutrition."

“It is of course absolutely devastating when you see such terrible malnutrition,” he said, warning of “very severe needs."

According to Unicef, there are 370,000 children in Yemen enduring severe malnutrition that weakens their immune system. One and a half million are going hungry and half of children under five are stunted because of chronic malnutrition.

One alleged al-Qaeda militant was killed and another wounded during a US drone strike in Baydah province on September 29, a week after another US attack in Baydah killed two other suspects.

Wednesday, October 5 UAE officials say that Houthi forces attacked a civilian ship off Yemen’s southwest coast in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait early on Saturday, October 1. UAE’s foreign ministry claimed the ship was carrying aid, wounded Yemenis, and passengers.

The UN and EU have condemned the attack on the vessel as “unacceptable” and called for “the respect of the freedom of movement and navigation security in the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait at all times in accordance with international law.”

Stephen O’Brien, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, traveled to Saudi Arabia and met with defense and foreign ministry officials to discuss the situation in Yemen and the facilitation of humanitarian access.

“We all agreed that the utmost must be done to save and protect lives in Yemen in accordance with international humanitarian law,” O’Brien told reporters.

The threat of famine in Yemen is growing, due in part to the freezing of the country’s trade system and an inability to process payments.

"We have begun to cancel our forward contracts - it's just impossible to trade when there is no financial system in place," said one source.

"The politicization of the central bank and attempts by the parties in the conflict to use it as a tool to hurt one another ... threaten to push the poorest over the edge," said Richard Stanforth, humanitarian policy adviser with Oxfam.

Thursday, October 6 A pro-government officer reports that four Houthi soldiers and three loyalist forces were killed in clashes between Lahj and Ta’iz provinces near the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

Friday, October 7 Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post interviews Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman five years after she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Raghavan asks her about Yemen’s current situation and what went wrong following the 2011 revolution.

“The first and foremost mistake is granting ousted president Saleh impunity against all crimes he committed in the past, and allowing him [to be involved] in political activities. . . . The other serious mistake is allowing the Houthi militia to expand control over other territories with force and oppression,” Karman said.

Following a meeting with Houthi representatives in Oman, UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that he hopes to announce a 72-hour ceasefire within a few days. The envoy said that the Houthis “are convinced of the need for a ceasefire,” but he still needs to speak with Hadi.

Saturday, October 8 In one of the deadliest attacks since the war began, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike targeted a funeral in San’a, killing at least 140 and wounded a staggering 525 others. The funeral was being held for the father of Houthi interior minister Jalal al-Roweishan.

"The aggression continues to shed blood in an uncommon savagery and with international collusion that reaches the level of direct participation," Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said in a statement.

The coalition is denying the strike, but eyewitnesses and UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick say the destruction was caused by airstrikes. A video of the attack corroborates these claims.

NSC Spokesperson Ned Price issued a White House statement on Saturday’s devastating airstrike saying, “U.S. security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check. Even as we assist Saudi Arabia regarding the defense of their territorial integrity, we have and will continue to express our serious concerns about the conflict in Yemen and how it has been waged. In light of this and other recent incidents, we have initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led Coalition and are prepared to adjust our support so as to better align with U.S. principles, values and interests, including achieving an immediate and durable end to Yemen's tragic conflict.”

An article in the Huffington Post argues that President Obama could end the war in Yemen at any moment by blocking the transfer of weapons and withdrawing strategic support from the Saudi-led coalition.

“There’s no question that American refueling, providing tankers, greatly enables the bombing of Yemen. If the Saudis had to do it without our tankers, the level of bombing would be enormously reduced, probably by a factor of three,” former Pentagon official Pierre Sprey said.

Unicef reports that a cholera outbreak has hit Yemen, with eight cases reported recently in one neighborhood of San’a.

"Children are at a particularly high risk if the current cholera outbreak is not urgently contained especially since the health system in Yemen is crumbling as the conflict continues."

Sunday, October 9 Although the Saudi-led coalition, as of Sunday, has not admitted responsibility for Saturday’s airstrike that killed at least 140, the coalition is launching an investigation into the attack, likely in an attempt to curb further criticism of the kingdom's military campaign.

Thousands of Yemenis marched in San'a to protest Saturday's airstrike. Meanwhile, Iran's foreign minister asked for the UN to arrange for an Iranian shipment of humanitarian aid to Yemen following what he described as the "horrendous and heinous attack" on mourners.

Two missiles were fired at American warship USS Mason while it was passing through the Red Sea for “routine operations in international waters.” The missiles, which were reportedly launched from Houthi-held territory, did not reach the ship. A spokesman for the Houthi forces denies targeting any warships. The incident comes eight days after Houthi forces were accused of attacking a UAE vessel in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

CNN interviews UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick and Chatham House’s Peter Salisbury about an apparent indifference of the international community and media outlets towards the crisis in Yemen. The lack of coverage may be attributed to the country’s inaccessibility and the absence of a clear narrative, but Salisbury adds that the US and the UK are happy to continue backing Saudi Arabia for political and financial reasons.

"There have been one or two occasions where the British arms industry wouldn't have been able to survive if it hadn't been for massive orders from Saudi Arabia," Salisbury said.

"Basically, policymakers in the West see the world as a giant game of Risk, and they see more value to maintaining their relationship with Saudi Arabia than getting rid of bad PR over Yemen."