0554 GMT March 22, 2019
Aid projects funded by Oxfam in Yemen have been hit in Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, as the British government faces mounting pressure to halt arms sales to Riyadh, the Independent reported.
A vital cholera treatment center in Abs, in Hajjah Province, was hit in June in the airstrikes – which are supported by British intelligence – despite the location being reported to the Saudi coalition more than 12 times.
In April, the coalition air raids severely damaged an Oxfam-supported water supply system that provided water for 6,000 people in a country that is suffering one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the 21st century.
The British charity – supported by UK and European funding – revealed the news following last week’s parliamentary debates in the House of Commons, where British lawmakers were trying to evaluate the impact of UK arms sales to the Saudis. During the hearing on Tuesday, Oxfam’s Dina el-Mamoun revealed that UK aid to the war-torn country is being bombarded.
“On the one hand, British aid is a vital lifeline, on the other, British bombs are helping to fuel an ongoing war that is leading to countless lives being lost each week to fighting, disease and hunger,” Oxfam’s Head of Government Relations Toni Pearce told The Independent following the International Development Committee hearing.
Referring to London’s policy towards Yemen as “irresponsible and incoherent,” she noted that the UK’s ongoing arms sales to Riyadh are contributing to the destruction of scarce food supplies, hospitals and homes, as well as “aid programs funded by British taxpayers.”
“The UK continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, whose coalition bombing campaign in Yemen has cut off vital food supplies, destroyed hospitals and homes, and hit aid programs funded by British taxpayers.”
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) reported in June 2015 that coalition warplanes destroyed a warehouse of UK-funded aid in an airstrike. DFID declined to comment on the latest projects hit.
Since Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a bombing campaign in 2015 to restore former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement, the UK has sold an estimated £3.87billion worth of arms to Riyadh.
And despite reassurances from the UK government that its intelligence support and training of the Saudi-led forces is helping reduce civilian casualties, the latest report from the Yemen Data Project (YDP) shows that 48 percent of all known airstrikes hit non-military targets.
YDP spokesperson Iona Craig told The Independent: “Since the Saudi/UAE-led coalition launched the ground offensive against Hodeida in June, the data has shown a significant rise in non-military targeting.”
The coalition ignored repeated international warnings that the heavily defended Red Sea port under attack will trigger a food and humanitarian crisis in an impoverished Yemen.
“This is now a trend that has continued since June and peaked in September, with 48 percent of air raids targeting civilian sites,” Craig said.
“This continuing rise of civilian targeting has also been reflected in the casualty figures,” she added.
Lise Grande, the UN’s coordinator for Yemen, said last month that as many as 13 million civilians could die from starvation if the bombardment continues.
The Legal Center for Rights and Developments in Yemen last month said the ongoing Saudi-led military campaign against the impoverished Arab country has claimed the lives of more than 15,000 civilians.