Aid group ICRC pulls dozens of staff from Yemen over security risks

Red Cross pulls foreign staff out of Yemen

As many as 600,000 civilians are now living in and around the rebel-held city, a vital lifeline through which most of Yemen's population gets food and medicine, according to estimates by the United Nations and its partners.

"In a prolonged worst case, we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything, even their lives", added the United Nations official.

"Due to a series of incidents and threats, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has pulled 71 staff members out of Yemen, crippling its humanitarian activities such as surgical services, visits to detainees, clean water initiatives and food assistance activities".

The deal - which is still not being made public and could be altered - lays out a plan to end the four-year war in Yemen, which has seen Iran-backed Houthi rebels at war with a Saudi-led Arab military coalition and Yemeni government forces.

"While the Yemen delegation has received numerous threats in the past, we can not now accept additional risk less than two months after a gunman killed a staff member", the organisation said, referring to the killing of a Lebanese employee in Yemen's southern city of Taez in April.

"While the Yemen delegation has received numerous threats in the past, we can not now accept additional risk less than two months after a gunman killed a staff member".

The 71 people withdrawn from Yemen represent more than half of the ICRC's international staff in the country
The 71 people withdrawn from Yemen represent more than half of the ICRC’s international staff in the country

She said the ICRC still has close to 450 staff members in Yemen.

Dominik Stillhart, ICRC's director of operations, says Thursday that ICRC's staff is being intimidated by parties in Yemen's civil war.

Since then, more than 10,000 people have been killed, majority civilians.

"In addition to being one of the most densely populated areas in Yemen, Hodeidah is the most important entry point for food and basic supplies needed to prevent starvation and cholera recurrence", the statement said.

The deal also says that Saudi and UAE armed forces would also halt their bombing of Yemeni towns and cities, which has killed thousands of civilians.

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