UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – A second humanitarian pause was announced by the United Nations on Friday. It came into force at 23:59 local time (20:59 GMT) and is supposed to last until the July 17 end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"Planning for the humanitarian pause foresees the distribution of food to over 1.1 million people; the treatment of more than 126,000 malnourished children; support for 13,000 pregnant and lactating women; and the distribution of emergency shelter and essential household items to 55,000 people," spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Stephane Dujarric said in a Friday statement.
According to Dujarric, 29 health and nutrition units will be used to reach previously inaccessible communities in Yemen.
"There are over 21 million Yemenis, with four-fifths of the population in need of humanitarian aid. The World Food Programme (WFP) says it is ready to scale up its operations in Yemen, provided that the agreed humanitarian pause takes effect," the spokesman said, adding that WFP still needs an additional $103 million for emergency food distributions until August 2015.
Early on Saturday a Sputnik Arabic correspondent reported citing a security source that the Arab coalition, which has been conducting airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen, bombed the capital Sanaa, as well as the port city of Aden, two hours after the start of the humanitarian pause.
Earlier, the UN Security Council welcomed the start of the humanitarian pause and urged all sides of the Yemeni conflict to comply with it.
"The members of the Security Council emphasized that all parties will need to suspend military operations during the pause and that no party should take advantage of the pause to move weapons or seize territory."
As the United Nations and other humanitarian aid organizations work on delivering assistance to various parts of Yemen, all sides need to provide "rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian actors" to reach those in need, the council stressed.
This is the second humanitarian ceasefire enforced in Yemen, where Houthis, the main opposition group, continue to battle against government forces backed by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of Arab states.
The coalition has been conducting airstrikes against Shiite Houthis at the request of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.