UN truce brings improvement in Yemen humanitarian situation

Fuel ships arrive in Hodeidah and road linking Marib and Sanaa reopens for first time in years

Yemenis attend a soccer match at a school yard after a two-month truce began in Yemen during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Sana'a. EPA / Yahya Arhab
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The UN-brokered two-month truce in Yemen has reportedly held in large parts in the war-ravaged country since it went into effect early on Saturday.

Fuel ships arrived in the port of Hodeidah on Monday.

"More than four fuel ships arrived in the Hodeidah harbours in the past couple of days," Amin Al Shaddadi an official in the pro-government Supreme Relief Committee, told The National on Monday.

"The first one docked in the port on Sunday and on Monday the Caesar ship arrived in the same port carrying tonnes of fuel derivatives.

"And there are other tankers waiting to enter the port to unload their fuel cargo."

Mr Al Shaddadi said the Naqil bin Ghailan mountain motorway that links Marib and Sanaa in northern Yemen was reopened on Sunday for the first time in years.

"People were extremely happy as this main road was reopened because it saves time and lives as well," he said.

Mr Al Shaddadi said that the siege around the southern Taez province by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels had not been lifted so far.

But the terms of the ceasefire included a meeting between the warring parties to agree on reopening the blocked roads in Taez and elsewhere to allow civilians to move about.

The UN welcomed the measures taken to build trust between the warring parties, especially the fuel deliveries and reopening roads.

The resumption of commercial flights to and from the airport in the capital Sanaa was set to begin soon.

David Gressly, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Yemen, on Monday welcomed the commitment to allow fuel ships into Hodeidah.

“These ports are critical entry points for fuel, food and other essential commodities into Yemen,” Mr Gressly said.

“The resumption of some commercial flights into and out of Sanaa International Airport will be welcome news to many Yemenis, including those who have been waiting for an opportunity to seek medical treatment or education abroad, and for families who hoped to reunite over Ramadan."

A source in the Houthi-held capital told The National: "The first flights between Sanaa and Cairo were expected within the next two days."

But there have been some minor breaches to the ceasefire announced by the UN on Friday.

The Houthis used armed drones and fired long-range mortars on outposts of the southern groups fighting alongside the Yemeni government forces on the border between Al Dhalea and Ibb provinces on Monday, said Capt Fuad Jubari, spokesman of Al Dhalea Military Axis.

In Marib city, which was the last government-held bastion in the north, the Houthi rebels were still gathering on the western outskirts, Sheikh Mohammed Al Kardaei a tribal leader fighting alongside the pro-government forces there, said on Monday.

"There is a relative lull around the province since the truce went into effect last Saturday, but the Houthis were reportedly mobilising to Al Kassara frontline, which indicates that they still plan to attack the city," Sheikh Mohammed said.

Updated: April 05, 2022, 7:02 AM