Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘naval blockade

 Hunger’s spread in Yemen:

Thousands of infants pointing their fingers to this brutal pre-emptive war: Infant mortality on the rise exponentially

He vomited yellow fluid from his nose and mouth. Then he stopped breathing.

He didn’t cry and there were no tears, just stiff,” said his mother, Intissar Hezzam. “I screamed and fainted.”

The spread of hunger has been the most horrific consequence of Yemen’s war since rebels and the regular army seized the capital Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia and its allies, backed by the United States, responded with a campaign of airstrikes and a naval blockade a year ago.

The impoverished nation of 26 million, which imports 90 percent of its food, already had one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world, but in the past year the statistics have leaped.

The number of people considered “severely food insecure” — unable to put food on the table without outside aid — went from 4.3 million to more than 7 million, according to the World Food Program. Ten of the country’s 22 provinces are classified as one step away from famine.

Where before the war around 690,000 children under five suffered moderate malnutrition, now the number is 1.3 million.

Even more alarming are the rates of severe acute malnutrition among children — the worst cases where the body starts to waste away — doubling from around 160,000 a year ago to 320,000 now, according to UNICEF estimates.

Exact numbers for those who died from malnutrition and its complications are unknown, since the majority were likely unable to reach proper care. But in a report released Tuesday, UNICEF said an estimated 10,000 additional children under five died of preventable diseases the past year because of the breakdown in health services, on top of the previous rate of nearly 40,000 children a year.

“The scale of suffering in the country is staggering,” UNICEF said in the report, and the violence “will have an impact for generations to come.”

The Saudi-led coalition launched its campaign on March 26, 2015, aiming to halt the advance of Shiite rebels known of Houthis who had taken over the capital, Sanaa, drove out the internationally recognized government (that had actually resigned) and stormed south.

The Houthi advance was halted. But they continue to hold Sanaa and the north. In the center of the country, they battle multiple Saudi-backed factions (mostly mercenaries from Columbia, Sudan, Pakistan…) supporting the government that tenuously holds the southern city of Aden.

Ground fighting and the heavy barrage of airstrikes have killed more than 9,000 people, including more than 3,000 civilians, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office.

More than 900 children have been killed and more than 1,300 wounded, 61 percent of them in airstrikes, according to UNICEF.

Coalition airstrikes appear to be “responsible for twice as many casualties as all other forces put together,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said. The coalition argues that the rebels often use civilians and civilian locations as shields for their fighters. It also disputes U.N. figures on how many deaths are caused by strikes, saying they are based on statistics from the Houthis.

Around 2.3 million people have been driven from their homes.

Strikes have destroyed storehouses, roads, schools, farms, factories, power grids and water stations. The naval blockade, enforcing a U.N. arms embargo on the rebels, has disrupted the entry of food and supplies.

The ripple effects from war have tipped a country that could already barely feed itself over the edge. The food, fuel and other supplies that do make it into the country are difficult to distribute because trucks struggle to avoid battle zones, fear airstrikes or need to scrounge for gas. Under control of Houthi fighters, government services from Sanaa are largely paralyzed.

The fate of Udai illustrated the many factors, all exacerbated by war, that lead to the death of an infant.

His family lives off the pension that Udai’s father, Faisal Ahmed, gets as a former soldier, about $200 a month for him, his wife and nine other children ranging from 2 years old to 16.

The father used to sometimes work construction, but those jobs disappeared in the war. With food prices rising and supplies sporadic, the family eats once a day, usually yoghurt and bread, peas on a good day, said Udai’s parents, both in their 30s.

The day Udai was born, warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition were striking an army base used by Houthi rebels in their district of Hazyaz, a shantytown on the southern edge of Sanaa. Shrapnel hit their one-bedroom house where Udai’s mother was in labor.

“She was screaming and delivering the baby while the bombardment was rocking the place,” the father said.

Hezzam breastfed her newborn son for about 20 days, but then her milk stopped, likely from her own malnutrition. Even after childbirth, she had to collect firewood for the mud brick stove at the doorstep of her house.

Like much of the country, electricity has long been knocked out in their neighborhood, either because of airstrikes or lack of fuel, and there’s rarely cooking gas.

“I go every day to faraway places to search for the wood then carry it home on my head,” she said.

The family turned to formula to feed Udai, but it wasn’t always available and they couldn’t always afford it.

So every few days, Udai got formula and the other days he would get sugar and water. Water trucks occasionally reach the area, but otherwise his parents had to use unclean water.

In the past year, the number of people without regular access to clean water has risen from 13 million people to more than 19 million, nearly three-quarters of the population.

Within three months, Udai was suffering from diarrhea. His father took him to local clinics but they either didn’t have supplies or he couldn’t afford what they did have. Finally, on March 20, he made it to the emergency section at al-Sabeen Hospital.

Udai was suffering from severe malnutrition, diarrhea and a chest infection, said Saddam al-Azizi, head of the emergency unit. He was put on antibiotics and a feeding solution through the nose.

The AP saw Udai at al-Sabeen on March 22. His arms were convulsing, his emaciated legs motionless, his face gaunt and pale. When he cried, he was too dehydrated to produce tears. At around five months old, he weighed 2.4 kilograms (5.3 pounds).

“Unstable,” his chart read for every day he’d been there.

Two days later, his parents took him home. His father told the AP it was because the doctors told them it was hopeless, and he complained the staff was not giving him enough treatment. Al-Azizi said he suspected it was because the family couldn’t afford the medicines. The hospital stay is free, but because medicines are in such short supply, families must pay for them, he said.

“It was a mistake to take him out,” he said. The treatment needed time to work.

Still, al-Azizi had given Udai only a 30 percent chance of survival.

Al-Sabeen was already dealing with dozens of malnourished children. In the first three months of the year, it has treated around 150 children with malnutrition, double the same period last year, al-Azizi said. Around 15 died, not counting Udai.

Some parents managed to get there from remote parts of the country. One woman described walking for four days from her mountain village outside Sanaa, carrying her emaciated daughter, who at two years old weighed only four kilograms (8.8 pounds).

Mohammed Ahmed brought his son here from the city of Ibb because the hospital there had no supplies. He drove the 90 miles (150 kilometers) through rebel checkpoints while warplanes struck, he said. His 10-month-old son Marwan, after 15 days in the hospital, now weighs 3.5 kilograms (7.7 pounds).

Hospitals and clinics around the country have suffered shortages of medicines and fuel, meaning millions live in areas that have virtually no medical care. UNICEF said nearly 600 health facilities nationwide have stopped working.

The Saudi-led coalition allows humanitarian flights bringing medical supplies as well food and water in to Sanaa as well as shipments into Hodeida port, the closest one to the capital. But getting the supplies around the country is difficult. Even pre-war transportation infrastructure was poor, and now trucks often can’t get through battle zones. Drivers fear getting hit by airstrikes or have to scrounge to obtain expensive gas.

Hospitals and clinics have been hit by airstrikes or caught up in fighting. In the battlefield city of Taiz, the Yemeni-Swedish Hospital for Children was damaged as rebels and Saudi-backed fighters fought over it. Parents had to rush their children being treated there back to their homes, and their fate is unknown.

Udai hardly lasted three hours after being brought home, his parents said. Ahmed, his father, said he blames Saudi Arabia’s air campaign for his son’s death.

“This is before the war,” he said, holding up his 2-year-old son Shehab to show the difference between a child born before the war and after.

They buried the infant at the foot of the mountains nearby. His father read the Quran over the tiny grave marked only by rocks, reciting, “On God we depend.”

__

Michael reported from Cairo. Associated Press Writers Maad Al-Zikry in Sanaa, Yemen, and Lee Keath in Cairo contributed to this report

Andrew Bossone shared this link

Don’t turn away. These people are suffering from Saudi’s war backed by the US and Europe.

HAZYAZ, Yemen (AP) — The baby was born in war, even as planes blasted his village in Yemen.
Five months later, Udai Faisal died from war: his skeletal body…
bigstory.ap.org

Status of Gaza and the expelled Palestinians living in Gaza

GAZA RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENT (Click here for December 2011 Gaza access and closure map) –

SIEGE and BLOCKADE

‘The prolonged blockade of Gaza, which had already been in place for some 18 months (report published in 2012 by IMU) before the current fighting began, amounts to collective punishment of its entire population.‘

The Fourth Geneva Convention specifically prohibits collective punishment. Its Article 33 provides: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”’

‘Israel’s punitive closure of the Gaza Strip, tightened after Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in June 2007, continued to have severe humanitarian and economic consequences for the civilian population.‘Gaza’s economy grew rapidly, but the World Bank said the growth depended on international assistance.

The economy had not returned to pre-closure levels; daily wages, for instance, had declined 23% since 2007. Israel’s near-total restrictions on exports from Gaza hindered economic recovery.

Due to low per capita income, 51% of the population was unable to buy sufficient food, according to UN aid agencies. ‘Israel allowed imports to Gaza that amounted to around 40 percent of pre-closure levels, the UN reported.

Israel continued to bar construction materials, like cement, which it said had “dual use” civilian and military applications. Israel allowed shipments of construction materials for projects operated by international organizations, but as of September Gaza still had an estimated shortage of some 250 schools and 100,000 homes.’

  • Since the early 1990s, Israel has restricted passage to and from Gaza, but in 2006, following Hamas’ victory in Palestinian elections, Israel tightened its restrictions severely and imposed a total naval blockade on the tiny coastal enclave.
  • Israel’s siege and naval blockade of Gaza are acts of collective punishment, which is illegal under international law, and is considered as such by the United Nations and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.
  • A 2009 Amnesty International report following Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, stated:
  • In 2011, the UN released the so-called Palmer Report on Israel’s attack against the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists (one of them a US citizen).
  • The report deemed Israel’s blockade legal, however it was widely considered a politicized whitewash, containing the important caveat that “its conclusions can not be considered definitive in either fact or law.”
  • Shortly after the Palmer Report was released, an independent UN panel of experts released a report concluding that Israel’s blockade of Gaza does violate international law, stating that it amounts to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” The International Committee of the Red Cross and a UN fact-finding mission into Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla reached the same conclusion in 2010.
  • Israeli officials have admitted that the siege is not motivated primarily by security concerns, but is part of a strategy of “economic warfare” against the people of Gaza. In 2006, senior advisor to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Dov Weisglass, said the goal of the Gaza siege was to put the 1.6 million people of Gaza “on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
  • Despite the fact that Israel loosened restrictions under international pressure following the assault on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010, the siege and blockade continue to strangle Gaza economically.
Palestinian children in Gaza dying under the bombs
  • According to a 2012 Human Rights Watch report:

– ‘NO-GO’ ZONES – (Click here for UN map showing no-go zones)

  • In May 2010, Israel declared “no-go” zones within 300 meters (328 yards) from the wall that surrounds Gaza. In practice, however, the UN has concluded that the no-go zone is actually 500 meters (546 yards). Palestinians who venture into this area risk being shot by Israeli soldiers without warning. Numerous Palestinian civilians, including children and the elderly, have been wounded and killed in these areas.
  • Human rights organizations such as B’Tselem have documented dozens of cases of cases in which Israeli soldiers opened fire at people who posed no threat and were much farther than 300 meters (328 yards) from the wall – up to 1,500 meters (1640 yards) away.
  • According to UN statistics, the area of the official no-go zones, together with the area in which entry is effectively restricted due to a real risk of gunfire, covers about 39 square miles, or 17% of the total area of Gaza.
  • The no-go zones affect some 113,000 Palestinians (7.5% of Gaza’s population), causing harm to their homes, land, workplaces, and schools. Seven schools are located in these areas.

– RESTRICTIONS ON FISHING – (Click here for UN map showing nautical fishing limit)

‘In addition to the harsh restrictions on fishing, B’Tselem has documented cases in which naval forces have attacked and harassed fishermen. The documented cases include, for example, gunfire, detention, delay, and confiscation of boats and fishing equipment.

The prohibition on entering deep waters and the danger now inherent to every excursion to sea deny fishermen access to areas abundant with fish, limiting their catches [to] small fish of poor quality. As a result, it is extremely hard to earn a living from fishing, or even cover fishing expenses.

Given the lack of other sources of income in the Gaza Strip, some fishermen are left no option but to violate the prohibition and endanger their lives. ‘The fishing sector in Gaza has suffered a sharp blow. According to various estimates, the livelihood of some 3,000 families in Gaza, comprising some 19,500 people, depends directly on the fishing industry, and another 2,000 families make a living from affiliated industries, such as building and maintenance of boats and sale and maintenance of equipment. The imports also raise the cost of fish, preventing many families from obtaining an important source of protein. Because of the short supply, the price of fish has risen.’

  • In the Interim Agreement signed by Israel and the PLO as part of the Oslo Accords during the 1990s, Israel agreed to allow fishing boats from Gaza to travel some 20 nautical miles from shore, except for several buffer zones near the borders with Israel and Egypt to which they were denied entry altogether.
  • But according to a 2011 report from B’Tselem: “In practice, however, Israel did not issue permits to all the fishermen who requested them, and allowed fishing up to a distance of 12 nautical miles.”
  • Since Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, the Israeli navy has reduced that limit to three nautical miles.

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

August 2020
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