Yemeni Minister of Public Health and Population Taha al-Mutawakel, citing a new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), announced the grim news on Thursday.
He warned that children with cancerous tumors suffer the most due to the scarcity of chemotherapy medicines and the dire shortage of treating facilities in the blockaded country.
According to Mutawakel, 40,000 Yemenis, at least 6,000 of them children, contract cancer each year. During the past nearly four years, the number of people diagnosed with various types of cancerous tumors has multiplied.
Mutawakel said the Saudi-led military coalition waging a war on Yemen is still preventing cancer patients from traveling abroad and barring them from crossing a UN-sponsored humanitarian air bridge.
The invading forces were also blocking the entry of desperately-needed medicines and medical supplies to Yemen, he added.
Saudi forces, the minister said, had prevented a single brachytherapy device from entering Yemen under the pretext that that it might be used in military industries.
The move, Mutawakel said, amounted to a war crime in international law and equal to “death sentence for people with cancerous tumors, including children”, Press TV reported.
Last month, the Yemeni minister announced that every 10 minutes, a child under the age of five died from extreme hunger in the war-ravaged country.
Saudi Arabia launched a devastating campaign against Yemen, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Houthi fighters.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has so far claimed more than 100,000 lives.
The imposed war has also taken a heavy toll on Yemen’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. According to the United Nations, more than 24 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.
The Saudi-led coalition has also been enforcing a tight embargo on Sana’a International Airport — which acts as a lifeline for the impoverished nation — since August 2015, when it also imposed a tight naval blockade on the country, particularly on Hudaydah, which acts as another lifeline for Yemen.
More than four years later, Saudi Arabia has been bogged down in the war, which it had wished to end in a matter of “months”.
A number of Western countries, the US, France and Britain in particular, are accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply Saudi Arabia with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.