Warring sides in Yemen have increasingly used global aid workers as a "pawn" in the country's three-year civil war, the worldwide Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday after removing 71 employees from the country amid security concerns.
Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said on Friday that humanitarian agencies "fear, in a prolonged worst case, that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything - even their lives".
Government forces have been trying to seize rebel-held Hodeida, a vital lifeline from which most of Yemen's population gets food and medicine.
The Yemen civil war, now in its fourth year, is a multilayered conflict in which a Saudi-led coalition is battling to defeat a Houthi resistance and restore the UN-recognised government to the capital, Sana'a.
Dominik Stillhart, ICRC's director of operations, says Thursday that ICRC's staff is being intimidated by parties in Yemen's civil war.
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About 450 ICRC employees remain in Yemen, including dozens of expatriate staff, spokeswoman Marie-Claire Feghali said.
"Iran's central bank governor, other Central Bank of Iran officials and the Quds force team up to (...) move funds on behalf of Quds and Hezbollah", she said, adding that in Yemen, besides sending ballistic missiles to the Houthis, Quds printed "counterfeit Yemeni bank notes, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to support Iran's destabilizing activities".
An ICRC employee, a Lebanese national, was killed on April 21 by an unknown gunmen who opened fire on his vehicle in the southwestern Yemeni city of Taiz as he was on his way to visit a prison, it said at the time.
"We have received threats from all sides".
"[The combatants] have in their hands the power to influence how many people we pull out and how many people we keep in Yemen, but today the picture is looking extremely bad". With more than 3 million people displaced by war, and with the economy besieged and in ruins, the United Nations says the risk of starvation could imperil 22 million people - about three-quarters of the population.