ADEN -- Facing extreme hardship after her family's home in Taez province's Salh district was destroyed in battles with the Iran-backed Houthis, a grandmother best known as Umm Ghamdan was forced to take refuge with another family.
Salh is on the frontline with the Houthis, and residents of the district have been subjected to sniper fire, as well as facing a shortage of food, as humanitarian organisations have been unable to reach them, she said.
Umm Ghamdan, who was interviewed October 9 as part of a survey carried out by the National Committee to Investigate Alleged Violations of Human Rights, said she is among more than 1,260 civilians in the area without food aid.
Most local residents relied on humanitarian organisations for food, she said, but this source of sustenance has been discontinued because of the increased frequency of Houthi attacks following the failure of the truce extension efforts.
"We live in difficult and tragic humanitarian conditions, and we are forced to go outside to fetch firewood to prepare food, despite the risk of being targeted and coming under sniper fire from the Houthis," Umm Ghamdan said.
She said her grandchildren are not going to school anymore because the neighbouring Salah al-Din school was targeted and destroyed.
Millions short of food
Millions of Yemenis are in need of food assistance, according to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which has said that extending the truce in Yemen is an urgent necessity to prevent famine.
In an October 7 post on Twitter, USAID deputy administrator Isobel Coleman said that 19 million people in Yemen face acute food insecurity.
"It's critical that the truce be extended to prevent famine," she wrote, urging the Houthis to re-engage in negotiations in good faith to extend the UN-mediated truce.
On October 2, the United Nations (UN) envoy to Yemen announced that efforts to extend the truce in Yemen had failed, after the Houthis refused to agree to his proposals.
"There's no doubt the truce is an urgent humanitarian demand in order to preserve human life and enable humanitarian aid to reach deserving recipients," said Executive Unit for the Management of IDP Camps director Najeeb al-Saadi.
"The Houthis' seizure of state revenues and refusal to pay salaries or do what any de facto authority is supposed to do" led to the famine, he told Al-Mashareq.
The Houthis collect revenues from taxes, telecommunication and customs duties and impose taxes on the people, he said, yet they do not provide them with any services in exchange.
A team from the National Committee to Investigate Alleged Violations of Human Rights visited the frontline in Salh district on October 9.
The team heard testimonies and statements from a number of residents and victims about the artillery shelling and sniper fire, as well as the casualties and losses among civilians and destruction of hundreds of buildings.
These included private homes and other civilian buildings, including the Ammar bin Yasir and Salah al-Din schools.
The team also was briefed on the repercussions of the Houthis' siege on civilians, which created a situation in which the remaining 1,260 or so residents are deprived of safe drinking water, food, fuel and medicine.
"The catastrophic and inhumane situation in Yemen, especially in terms of economic and social rights related to services, prices, oil derivatives and access to food, has been deteriorating since the beginning of the war and has recently grown more acute," said commission spokeswoman Ishraq al-Maqtari.
The terms of the recently expired truce had included provisions to open roads between provinces to facilitate the delivery of food and aid, as well as people's access to resources and opportunities, she told Al-Mashareq.
But this was not done, she said, "because of the Houthis' intransigence during the truce over the last six months".
Other measures that were part of the truce agreement were implemented to some degree, however, she said, noting there had been improvement in air traffic from Sanaa airport, facilitating travel between Sanaa and Jordan.
Despite the government's efforts to agree to the Houthis' many conditions, the group only used the truce for its own benefit, said economist Faris al-Najjar.
He said the group reaped hefty profits in oil derivative revenues from the port of al-Hodeidah during the truce period, as the Houthis channelled funds into their own pockets instead of paying the salaries of state employees.
"The hotbeds of famine and food insecurity are mostly in the provinces that are under Houthi control, and therefore the payment of salaries would improve the level of food security," al-Najjar said.
But the reinstatement of the truce with its previous provisions, without the payment of salaries and opening of roads, would only serve to "increase the Houthis' wealth and their use of these funds to kill Yemenis", he added.