HRW: Saudi-Led Coalition Blocking Desperately Needed Fuel

Local Editor

According to the Human Rights Watch [HRW] organization, the "Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s blockade of Yemen is keeping out fuel needed for the Yemeni population’s survival in violation of the laws of war", in an article on its website on Monday.

HRW said in the article on Monday that, "Yemen is in urgent need of fuel to power generators for hospitals overwhelmed with wounded from the fighting and to pump water to civilian residences".

"The 10-country coalition, which has United States logistics and intelligence support, should urgently implement measures for the rapid processing of oil tankers to allow the safe, secure, and speedy distribution of fuel supplies to the civilian population...," it said.

It added: "...Fuel should be allowed to go through whether or not a proposed ceasefire takes effect".


HRW also wrote that the deputy Middle East and North Africa director, Joe Stork, said that, "The rising civilian casualties from the fighting could become dwarfed by the harm caused to civilians by the coalition blockade on fuel, if it continues," adding that, "It is unclear how much longer Yemen’s remaining hospitals have before the lights go out."

"The coalition blockade is keeping all fuel out of Yemen, while civilians are desperately in need of water and electricity," according to Stork.

The coalition began an aerial-bombing aggression against Yemen on March 26, 2015, and instituted a naval and aerial blockade, HRW wrote.

According to shipping logs, "No fuel tankers have been able to berth at Yemeni ports since March 28, though at least seven have tried, according to shipping records", HRW further noted. 

"On May 7, coalition forces threatened to open fire on any vessel not complying with instructions to stay well clear of Yemen Territorial Waters", shipping sources told HRW.

Four shipping industry professionals told HRW that according to shipping records, "Since March 28 no fuel supplies have entered the country, though as of May 8, one ship has been given permission to berth. Illustrating its impact, one relief worker reported that conflict areas in Aden had been without electricity for 10 days".

Furthermore, shipping sources told HRW that for the ports of Hodaida and Saleef on Yemen’s west coast, applications must be filed with the Yemeni Transport Ministry, currently based in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, and are subject to approval by coalition forces.

Humanitarian Situation in Yemen


On May 3, the World Health Organization [WHO] noted "a doubling in cases of bloody diarrhoea in children under 5 as well as measles and malaria infections since March 26", HRW further said in its article.

"The fuel shortage has also impacted many of the country’s hospitals, which do not have enough fuel for their generators to run", it added.

HRW further said that, "Heavy fighting, including aerial bombing by coalition forces, has wounded several thousand people in urban areas, taxing the country’s already substandard healthcare system", adding that, "The World Health Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC], and other humanitarian agencies have pointed to the imminent shutdown of hospitals and medical services for lack of fuel and basic supplies".

"The increase in fuel prices has also contributed to skyrocketing prices for basic food stuffs", it further noted.