Following 800 days of the outbreak of brutal attacks by Saudi Arabia and its allies on Yemen, its women, children and civilians remain under the most severe attacks and economic siege against the silence of international communities.
The United Nations has recently announced that more than 1,600 people have died of cholera in the country since April and in addition to the pervasive cholera outbreak, famine threatens lives of two-third of Yemenis.
The following is the English translation of an interview conducted by Mehr News International Desk with Yemen's Deputy Minister of health Nasser al-Argaly on the situation in Yemen in the wake of Saudi Arabia’s continued aggression on the country:
What is the latest statistics of people suffering from cholera in Yemen? How many people have so far died of this disease?
Since the outbreak of cholera in Yemen, the number of people suspected of suffering from the disease is more than 313,000. Some 1,750 Yemeni citizens have also lost their lives to cholera. The disease has spread to twenty-one provinces and around 300 areas in Yemen. Also, the number of martyrs and wounded, as a result of Saudi aggression, reaches more than 35,000.
What is the cause of the spread of cholera in Yemen? Is the Yemeni health system on the verge of collapse?
These are the most important causes for the spread of cholera in Yemen: 1) Lack of serious measures to discover the causes of the disease and eliminate those factors, which requires quick and accurate scientific research; 2) the hindrance in the process of combating the spread of cholera; and 3) The defects in Yemen’s health system and the lack of international support.
In regard to Yemen’s health system, I should say that it is on the verge of collapse. According to reports published early this year, only 45 per cent of the health system is functional. Meanwhile, we should not overlook the impact of the blockade and the continuation of military aggression on the collapse of Yemen’s health system.
Is the international community helping Yemen with combating cholera? What are the barriers to the delivery of humanitarian aid?
International aid only accounts for covering 15% of the catastrophe that Yemeni health system is going through. Furthermore, the mechanism in international organizations and the blockade of Yemen have prevented the delivery of many humanitarian aid to our country.
Is it true that most of Yemeni hospitals have been destroyed by Saudi fighter jets?
Yes, the aggressors have targeted and bombed many of Yemen's hospitals and health centers with their fighter jets. Many of these hospitals had been run by Doctors Without Borders. Saudis’ bombing of citizens and hospitals in Yemen is considered a war crime.
How did the UN and the international community react to the killings of the Yemeni people?
In recent months, the UN put Saudi Arabia on the blacklist of children’s rights violations, but was forced to remove the regime from the list under Saudis’ pressure.
How do you evaluate Iran's support for the Yemeni people?
Iran has a humanitarian and media role in helping the Yemen crisis, but this assistance does not include military or logistical aspects. We appreciate any position in supporting Yemen in any part of the world. History will witness the resistance of the Yemeni people and future generations will know of our resistance.
Interview by: Mohammad Fatemizadeh