by Andolu Ajansi
At least 2,288 people have been killed and nearly 10,000 others were injured in Yemen since the beginning of a Saudi-led military campaign against the Shia Houthi militant group in late March, the U.N. said Friday.
“More than one million people have been displaced across all governorates in Yemen between the 26 March and the end of May,” Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a press conference at the U.N. in Geneva.
“Half of the new displacement — more than half a million people — has occurred in three governorates alone: Hajjah, Ad Dhale’e and Ibb. The number of displaced is expected to increase further over the coming weeks if the conflict continues,” Laerke said.
Nearly 20 million Yemenis are now in need of humanitarian assistance, which is 78 percent of the entire Yemeni population, the U.N. said.
The number of people who need humanitarian assistance in the country increased by 4 million with the Saudi intervention in March 2015, it added.
Meanwhile, talks are expected to start in June 14 at the U.N. in Geneva, with a view to ending the current fighting and restoring momentum toward a Yemeni-led democratic transition.
Fractious Yemen has remained in turmoil since last September, when Houthi militants overran Sana’a from which they have sought to extend their influence to other parts of the country.
On March 25, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies began an extensive air campaign targeting Houthi positions across the country.
Riyadh says its campaign comes in response to appeals by Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi — who is in Saudi Arabia — for military intervention against Houthi militants.
The Houthis, however, denounce the offensive as unwarranted “Saudi-American aggression” against Yemen.