THE five-day humanitarian truce in Yemen has ended with a
resumption of Saudi Arabian-led air strikes on the country. The
truce was barely observed on the ground, and only limited
quantities of essential supplies were able to reach the millions of
desperately needy people in one of the poorest countries in the
The United Nations said on Tuesday that 1850 people had been
killed in the latest violence in Yemen, and that half a million
more had been driven from their homes.
The Ismaili Shia Houthi forces, harnessed to the military forces
of rebel Yemeni military units loyal to the former President, Ali
Abdullah Saleh, continue to hold the capital, Sana'a, and are
consolidating their grip in and around other cities, including
Weeks of street fighting have taken a heavy toll on the city's
infrastructure: tens of thousands of buildings have been damaged or
destroyed. Among the properties hit during an airstrike was the
Church of the Immaculate Conception, in al-Maala district. The
adjoining presbytery was also destroyed, but the buildings were
empty at the time.
Christ Church, Aden, has not escaped unscathed. The Bishop in
Cyprus & the Gulf, the Rt Revd Michael Lewis, said last week
that "all the windows of Christ Church, its associated clinic, and
the guesthouse have been blown out as a result of blast waves from
sustained shelling on the mountain that dominates our compound in
Tawahi. But we are told that all our staff are safe so far, and for
that we thank God."
Bishop Lewis went on to describe conditions in Aden as "terrible
- lack of fuel means a lack of electricity and telecommunications.
Even basic movement around the large city has become hugely
difficult. Food is limited, and money to buy it even more so."
He said that the Yemeni administrator of Christ Church was "very
thankful for the many prayers that he knows have been made for him,
for all who work at Ras Morbat, and for the people of Aden and the
Yemen as a whole - a country sorely abused by those with the power,
if they chose to use, to promote the common good to the glory of
Church leaders around the world are urging Christians to pray
for the people of Yemen, and for an end to hostilities. But thus
far the Houthis and their allies have rejected calls for all
parties in the conflict to hold peace talks in the Saudi capital,
Riyadh. Nor have the Saudis responded to calls from the United
Nations and the United States for the humanitarian truce to be
extended to construct a possible platform for wider
As temperatures rise to summer levels, the suffering of the
Yemeni people is bound to increase, in the absence of a radical
diplomatic initiative to end the fighting. Oxfam's assessment is
that "nearly half the population does not have enough to eat. . .
Children [are] increasingly suffering from malnutrition. . . The
blockade and the ongoing violence have reduced food imports to
about a third of what the country needs."