WHO calls for immediate access to Taiz City

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed concerns about the deteriorating health situation in Taiz, where more than 250 000 people have been living in a state of virtual siege since November 2015.

All of city's six hospitals have been forced to partially close some services, and are overwhelmed with injured patients. Humanitarian organisations are struggling to deliver medical and surgical supplies due to the insecurity, the United Nation's health watchdog said in a press release.

Five WHO trucks carrying medicines and medical supplies have been prevented from entering the city since December 14, 2015. The trucks contain trauma medicines, medicines for the treatment of diarrhoea, and other health supplies that urgently need to be delivered to Al Thawra, Al Jumhoori, Al Rawdhaand Al Mudhaffar Hospitals.

Three of the trucks are carrying 500 cylinders of oxygen that are critically needed by the hospitals.

The WHO called on all parties in Yemen to allow the secure movement and delivery of medical and humanitarian aid to all people, regardless of their location.

"In times of crisis, it is vital that health facilities remain functional and provide people in need with uninterrupted access to life-saving medical care," the WHO said.

Meanwhile, the rebel Houthi militia and forces loyal to now-ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh killed five civilians and injured 17 others, including women and children, when they bombarded residential neighbourhoods in Taiz City, the state Yemen News Agency reported.

Plumes of smoke shot into the air from tens of houses hit by the Houhti-Shaleh indiscriminate heavy shelling targeting the neighbourhoods of Tha'abat, al-Jahmaliyah, Osaifera and al-Dahi as well as villages on the foothills of the Sabr Mountain near Taiz.

The Houthi-Saleh militia has tightened their months-long siege on Taiz and continues to block relief, humanitarian aid and petrol products from reaching civilians.