Fighting rages in Yemen’s Aden
SANAA - Fighting raged Thursday in Yemen's battleground southern city Aden, a day after the United Nations declared its highest level humanitarian emergency in the war-torn country.
The new clashes left seven rebels and five pro-government fighters dead, a military official said.
It comes after rebel rocket fire on a residential district of Aden killed 31 civilians on Wednesday and left more than 100 others wounded, according to a medical official.
Rebel shelling on a western district of Aden early on Thursday damaged several homes and left casualties, residents said.
Meanwhile, a port near the Aden oil refinery came under rebel artillery shelling for a fifth consecutive day and a blaze continued in the area, said Aden Refinery Company spokesman Naser al-Shayef.
In the adjacent Lahj province and nearby Shabwa, Saudi-led coalition warplanes carried out several overnight strikes against rebel positions, residents said.
The coalition has been bombing the Iran-backed Huthi rebels since March 26 in support of Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia.
The United Nations on Wednesday declared Yemen a level-three emergency, the highest on its scale, as aid chief Stephen O'Brien held talks to discuss the crisis in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.
"All agencies agreed to declare the level three for a period of six months," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.
More than 21.1 million people -- over 80 percent of Yemen's population -- are in need of aid, with 13 million facing food shortages.
Access to water has become difficult for 9.4 million people, according to the UN.
Under the emergency plan, the United Nations will try to reach 11.7 million people in Yemen who are the most in need.
"The health system is facing imminent collapse with the closure of at least 160 health facilities due to insecurity, lack of fuel and supplies," he said.