Humanitarian situation worsens in southern Marib following Al Abdiyah takeover

Fierce fighting with local tribes has continued on the outskirts of Al Abdiyah

People scan the rubble of a house destroyed by Houthi missile attack in the northern Yemeni city of Marib. Reuters
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Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi movement's latest takeover of Al Abdiyah district to the south of Marib city has caused an acute humanitarian crisis as fierce clashes continued with the local tribes on the outskirts, security sources and officials said.

“Clashes have been intensifying in Al Qodairah region in Jebel Murad [Murad mountain] overlooking Al Jubah district of southern Marib,” Maj Gen Murad Al Muradi, a military commander in the pro-government local tribes’ forces told The National.

He said the Houthi militants scored a significant progress in Al Abdiyah but the tribes still fight on the outskirts and the district has not fully fell in the hands of the Houthis, said Maj Gen Al Muradi.

But residents in Al Jubah region bordering Al Abdiyah in southern Marib told The National that Houthi militants had kidnapped and rounded up tens of young tribesmen after controlling the centre of Al Abdiyah district last Thursday after three-week siege.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition intensified its incursions against Houthi gatherings in central Al Abdiyah, destroying a number of Houthi military vehicles and other military equipment, according to the residents.

This comes as humanitarian situation in areas around southern Marib continued to worsen, especially in Al Abdiyah with a population of about 37,000 people.

Mr Abdulhakim Al Qaisi, director of Social Affairs department in Marib, told The National that the Houthis have been committing crimes tantamount to “genocide” in Al Abdiyah, which was under strict siege for over three weeks.

“They kept denying the humanitarian organisations access to the district and shelled the children's nutrition section in the public hospital in the city on October 13, 2021, and denied medication access to the hospital which caused more than four sick women and 13 war injuries to die” Mr Al Qaisi said.

He said 5,300 people, including 3415 women and 4265 children, were in need for urgent response as they lacked food, fresh water and medicine.

“We have 23 patients on dialysis and 11 cancer patients and 47 others with chronic diseases who have been silently dying in Al Abdiyah as they didn’t have access to basic medications “ he said.

The US condemned the Houthi escalation in southern Marib and urged them to stop their offensive on the province, and listen to the urgent calls from across Yemen and the international community to bring this conflict to an end and support a UN-led inclusive peace process.

“The Houthis are obstructing movement of people and humanitarian aid, preventing essential services from reaching the 35,000 residents of Abdiya," the US department of State said on Saturday. "Their [Houthis] actions add to an already dire humanitarian situation and have caused even more Yemenis to become internally displaced.”

Updated: November 01, 2021, 1:00 PM