UN official calls for Yemen ceasefire

UN humanitarian affairs chief to meet with Houthis in Sanaa, government officials in Aden

UN official calls for Yemen ceasefire

UN humanitarian affairs chief Mark Lowcock has called for a ceasefire between Yemen’s warring camps, especially in the country’s western Al-Hudaydah province.

Lowcock issued his appeal at a press briefing given to reporters upon his arrival at Sanaa’s international airport on Thursday, kicking off a three-day visit to the war-weary country.

"I came here to assess the humanitarian situation, which has deteriorated markedly since my last visit," he said.

The UN official last visited Yemen in October of last year.

“We want to see a ceasefire, especially at facilities like the Port of Al-Hudaydah which are necessary for the movement of aid supplies,” Lowcock said.

During his visit, Lowcock is expected to meet with Houthi officials in Sanaa (which since 2015 has served as the seat of the Houthi administration) and in Aden (where Yemen’s internationally-recognized government is currently headquartered).

Lowcock is also expected to meet with humanitarian aid workers and visit communities affected by the ongoing conflict, including displaced families.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when the Houthi rebel group overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa. 

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

To date, tens of thousands of people -- including numerous civilians -- are believed to have been killed in the war, which has also left much of the country’s basic infrastructure in ruins.