August 11, 2019, Aden, Yemen — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is alarmed by confirmed reports of Saudi-led airstrikes in Aden. After days of intense fighting in the city, the United Arab Emirates backed Southern Transitional Council was able to take control of the city. But reports this morning that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has begun airstrikes in the city and vows to take back positions formerly held by the internationally recognized government is an escalation of the conflict that could be devastating for the people of Aden and Yemen. The IRC urges all parties to consider the humanitarian impact this fighting will have on civilians and resolve their differences through talks, not bombs.

Tamuna Sabadze, International Rescue Committee’s Yemen Deputy Director of Operations, said,

“Aden is still recovering from the Saudi-led coalition (SLC) bombing campaign of 2015. Since then, humanitarian organizations like the IRC have been able to provide services to a portion of the most vulnerable, but many living in southern Yemen still lack access to basic services with no means of generating an income and providing food for themselves and their families.

A new bombing campaign in Aden will dismantle any progress made since 2015  to reestablish basic services like water and sanitation, healthcare and education, and will further exacerbate what is already the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. These developments are already complicating the peace process. This new war within a war will compound the suffering of the Yemeni people. Parties in the south must stop the bombs and resolve their differences at the negotiating table and commit to progress on a nationwide ceasefire and political agreement to end violence across Yemen. Otherwise, innocent civilians will face dire consequences.”

The IRC has been working in Yemen since 2012 and rapidly scaled our programming in 2015 to address greater humanitarian need caused by the conflict. While the ongoing conflict and restrictions of air and seaports create challenges to our operations, the IRC has maintained access to affected populations and continues to provide life-saving healthcare, economic empowerment, women’s protection and empowerment, and education programming.