The fighting in Yemen between Saudi-led Arab coalition and Houthi militant group backed by rebels loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, has killed more than 50 people within the past two days, medical sources and residents said on Sunday.
In Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, 39 people - of whom eight are civilians - were killed amid the clashes, where relief workers reported that the fighting has blocked food supplies from entering the city and reaching civilians, leaving thousands of people in extreme hunger.
In addition, around 30 people were killed in fighting in Damt district in Dhalea governorate, located in the southern region of the country, according to reports collected from residents.
During the seven months of war in Yemen, at least 5,600 people have been reported dead, some 2,600 of them were civilians, the office for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said on Oct. 27.
Rupert Colville, OHCHR spokesman, said about two-thirds of the civilian deaths were caused by coalition air strikes and the rest by Houthis.
The UN has declared the situation in Yemen to be a level-three humanitarian emergency, the highest on its scale, after about 80 percent of the country’s population fell into dire need of humanitarian aid.
Twenty million people in the country are in need of aid, 13 million are facing food shortages and 9.4 million are having difficulties accessing drinking water.
The needed aid to Yemen usually arrives via shipments, however those shipments are frequently blocked by the Saudi-led coalition forces, in efforts to stop arm deliveries to the Houthi militants.
The coalition is battling to restore self-exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power, after the Houthis seized control of much of Yemen in late 2014 and to reverse what it sees is an Iranian expansion in the region.
Residents and officials said that pro-Hadi fighters were able to take control of two strategic entry points into the city of Damt on Sunday, after weapons were air dropped to them by coalition warplanes, solidifying their control over the southern region of Yemen.
Hadi has rejected any proposed peace agreement, unless the Houthi militants along with forces loyal to Saleh implement a UN resolution by withdrawing from cities and surrendering their arms.
All major fighting parties have publicly agreed to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 2216, however, the Houthis and Saleh want talks to address the mechanism for implementing the resolution.