“When it comes to weapon contamination, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan are the three countries most affected by this. It is really devastating and has a very important impact on people, their safety, and also their livelihood.” The ICRC’s Near and Middle East regional director, Fabrizio Carboni, was quoted as saying
“The presence of unexploded ordnance is massive,” stressed Carboni. “The contamination is so important and so widespread that you will not be able to decontaminate everything [even if the conflict ended today].”
“This is the first time that I really have the feeling that there are convincing and concrete political options on the table and that violence is no longer the only option,” added Carboni.
Yemen is estimated to have at least one million mines that have been planted during years of war.
According to the UN-linked Civilian Impact Monitoring Project, landmines, unexploded shells, and other weapons or munitions left behind during fighting have killed and injured 1,469 civilians in Yemen over the past five years.
The Yemen Executive Mine Action Centre (YEMAC) earlier this month said that cluster bombs and unexploded ordnance used by the Saudi-led military coalition during its onslaught on Yemen took the lives of dozens of civilians last month.
The center criticized the United Nations for the suspension of funding for minefield clearing operations in Yemen for the second straight month.
The center also stressed that the continuation of the current situation will result in the maiming of a great number of Yemenis, especially children.
Saudi Arabia initiated a brutal war of aggression against Yemen in March 2015, enlisting the assistance of some of its regional allies, including the United Arab Emirates, as well as massive shipments of advanced weaponry from the US and Western Europe.
The Western governments further extended their political and logistical support to Riyadh in their failed bid to restore power in Yemen to the country’s former Saudi-installed government.
The former Yemeni government’s president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, resigned from the presidency in late 2014 and later fled to Riyadh amid a political conflict with Ansarullah. The movement has been running Yemen’s affairs in the absence of a functioning administration.
The war further led to the killing of tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned the entire nation into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.