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UN looks to evacuate staff as fighting intensifies in Yemen

The United Nations is trying to evacuate at least 140 aid workers from Yemen amid intensifying fighting that has seen the road to the airport cut off, reports Reuters.

Speaking to Reuters, a UN official said,

“There is a plane on stand-by in Djibouti for 140 international staff. Fighting is moving towards the airport and the situation is very tense. We can’t even evacuate staff.”

The United Nations staff have been confined to their living quarters in Yemen’s capital Sanaa since the fighting intensified on Thursday.

The UN humanitarian spokesman in New York, Russell Geekoe said the UN could not yet safely move their staff, and exact numbers were unclear due to the fluidity of the situation.

“We’re very concerned by the clashes in Sanna city, which have reportedly resulted in civilian deaths and have negative implications for the humanitarian responses. At present the fighting is restricting movement within the city, including on the airport road. The airport remains closed with Sanaa residents holed up in their homes,” he said.

The spokeswoman of the International Committee of the Red Cross, speaking form Geneva, also outlined plans to reduce staff numbers in Yemen, stating,

“In light of the current chaotic situation, the ICR is looking to downsize staff presence in Yemen to a core team.”