A five-day humanitarian ceasefire has gone into effect in Yemen as the Saudi-led coalition continued to hit targets within the country right up until its implementation.
The truce is expected to bring in much needed supplies to the country, hit by over a month of airstrikes by Saudi Arabia and other members of the coalition it has established in order to push back against the gains made by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Saudi-led air strikes hit a rocket base in the capital of Sanaa on Monday. Reuters, citing a report from a Houthi-controled media outlet, said it killed at least 90 people and wounded 300.
At least three air strikes were reported on Tuesday, north of Sanaa, reportedly on a base for army units aligned with the Houthis.
The humanitarian ceasefire, which both sides have agreed to, went into effect at 11 p.m. local time and is expected to bring in supplies of food and medicine.
Hours before the ceasefire was due to begin, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) was preparing a large shipment of aid to send to Yemen.
“The UNHCR is making final preparations for a huge airlift of humanitarian aid into Yemen’s Sanaa, to take place over the next days if today’s proposed ceasefire comes into effect and holds,” UNCHR spokesman Adrian Edwards said.
The United Nations envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, was in the country in an attempt to jumpstart dialogue between the two sides in parallel with the looming ceasefire.
“We are convinced there is no solution to Yemen’s problem except through a dialogue, which must be Yemeni,” the envoy said.
The United Nations has said that 1,527 people have died during the conflict, among them 646 civilians, and at least 6,266 people have been wounded.
A Saudi-led coalition began its military campaign on March 26 in order to reimpose both stability and the internationally recognized leader, President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. The Houthis, largely believed to be backed by Iran, overtook the capital of Sanaa last September and have made gains southward into the cities of Aden and Taiz, promoting Saudi Arabia to launch its operation on its southern neighbor.
President Hadi was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia in March as the Houthis made gains on his stronghold in Aden.