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Aid workers face dangers of war in Yemen

The Red Cross has faced numerous setbacks in its mission in Yemen [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 December, 2015

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Analysis: As the conflict in Yemen rages, humanitarian and charity workers continue to face many hurdles in their relief missions - from the risk of abduction to losing their lives.

Two Red Cross workers in Yemen were abducted on Tuesday morning.

A Tunisian woman and a male Yemeni colleague were on their way to work in Sanaa when they were stopped by unidentified gunmen, said Red Cross spokeswoman Rima Kamal.

The Yemeni worker was released unharmed a few hours later, but the Tunisian national was still being held on Wednesday morning, as Kamal called for her release.

     Actions like this only make it more difficult for us to provide the assistance the people so desperately need
- Antoine Grand, ICRC

For many months, aid workers from organisations such as the Red Cross have faced numerous setbacks in their relief mission in Yemen, as the conflict in the country rages.

Yemen has been embroiled in a vicious conflict since March. Pro-government troops, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, are battling rebels known as Houthis who control large parts of the country.

On average, 30 people are killed and 180 injured every day in Yemen, the Red Cross has found.

The impoverished country's humanitarian crisis has been identified by the United Nations as one of the world's worst, with 80 percent of the country's population on the brink of famine.

ICRC President Peter Maurer described the humanitarian situation in Yemen as "nothing short of catastrophic".

But attempts to help bring an end to the everyday suffering of Yemeni civilians continues to prove even more difficult for those working in the region.

In September, two ICRC employees were killed by gunfire north of Sanaa.

Later that month, two Yemeni volunteers with the Red Crescent were killed among a group of other civilians in a Saudi-led airstrike.

Qaed Faisal, 28, and Omar Fareh, 31, died along with several other civilians during a September raid in the al-Swaida area of Taiz province.

In late August, two Red Cross workers were gunned down in the rebel-held Amran province, north of Sanaa.

That attack prompted the organisation to suspend its operations in Yemen.

"We are in Yemen to provide humanitarian help to the people," said Antoine Grand, the International Committee of the Red Cross head of delegation in Yemen.

"Actions like this, against humanitarian workers, only make it more difficult for us to provide the assistance the people so desperately need."

More than 5,700 people have been killed in the fighting while 82 percent of the population - 21 million people - are in urgent need of aid.

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