SANAA - The United Nations is hoping a 72-hour cease-fire in Yemen due to start on Wednesday will allow vital aid to reach parts of the country that have been cut off by months of fighting and are in dire humanitarian need.
A ceasefire between warring factions in Yemen will begin at 11:59 p.m. local time (8:59 p.m. GMT) on Wednesday, the UN said on Monday, raising hopes of an end to a war in the Arab world's poorest country that has killed thousands of civilians and left people starving.
Aid agencies may try during the cease-fire to reach families trapped in towns and villages where fighting - and a sea, air and land blockade imposed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting in Yemen - has left people short of food and in need of vital medical supplies.
"Hopefully this nationwide cessation will provide humanitarian agencies and organizations the opportunity to respond in areas that have been cut off or are hard to reach in all of Yemen," Jamie McGoldrick, the UN's Yemen Humanitarian Coordinator, told Reuters.
McGoldrick said he hoped the cessation of hostilities would be extended and would herald a resumption of peace talks that collapsed in August.