The World Health Organization has been able to deliver over 20 tons of urgently needed medical supplies to Taiz, Yemen, which has been blocked off by fighting between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the government.
Taiz, the country's third-largest city, has been under siege for about two months, and its hospitals have run out of medical supplies. Civilians in Taiz have run low on basic food supplies, such as rice and flour, because attempts at maintaining a cease-fire to allow in aid failed in recent months.
The WHO announced on Wednesday that it managed to deliver the supplies — including emergency health kits, dialysis solutions and oxygen cylinders — to four hospitals as of Jan. 31.
“Hospital staff in Taiz city are desperate for medicines and medical supplies so that they can continue to offer the most basic medical care," said Dr. Ahmed Shadoul, a WHO representative in Yemen, in a statement released by the organization. "The delivery of these WHO supplies is a huge step that we are hoping will pave the way for the provision of more medical support to the city.”
However, supplies have not reached all areas of the city, with three districts — Al-Mudhaffar, Al-Qahirah and Salah — remaining inaccessible. The WHO said that people there remain in "urgent need of food, safe water and lifesaving health services."
In April the U.N. and several nongovernmental organizations began expressing alarm over the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, noting the rising number of civilian deaths, including many children, and an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis.
It is estimated that roughly 5,800 people have been killed since the Saudi-led coalition began its bombing campaign against anti-government forces in March.