HUMAN rights campaigners have called on Westminster to recognise the “very severe” crisis arising from a “forgotten” war fought with British-made weapons after figures revealed a serious backlog in asylum cases.

Thousands of airstrikes have been carried out in Yemen by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition since March last year as the Gulf power aims to quash opposition to the Yemeni leader, President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Described as a “forgotten” war by Keith Vaz MP, the internal conflict in the impoverished country began in 2004 and escalated following the 2011’s Arab Spring.

Despite a transfer of power, fighting intensified across religious and tribal lines last year and in August the International Red Cross said five months of war had wreaked comparable devastation to that seen in Syria after five years.

The UK, which has closed its Yemen embassy and refuses to enter the country due to “deteriorating security”, exported more than 1,000 bombs to Saudi Arabia in the first half of 2015 and has approved exports of more than £1.75 billion worth of combat aircraft and bombs for the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Now the UK Government has been accused of ignoring the displaced Yemenis seeking safety in the UK, after Home Office figures revealed a growing backlog in asylum cases. Data obtained by SNP MP Alison Thewliss shows 101 “pending decisions” on applications by Yemenis at the end of March last year, rising to 120 in the second quarter.

During that time a total of 14 people were granted asylum in the UK, with 31 refused and overall decisions slowing between the first and second quarters.

Thewliss said: “Yemen is a country in chaos, with even hospitals falling under attack from air strikes. The fact only 14 Yemenis are confirmed to have been granted asylum in the UK last year is absolutely inexcusable.

“More worrying is the information which shows a large number of decisions still pending in the system.

“It’s clear that, if the UK isn’t approving asylum applications, then it is certainly kicking them into the long grass which backs up my view that this is the most uncaring, incompetent and sleekit government ever to rule over us."

Thewliss, who represents Glasgow Central, added: “The fact the UK Government has closed its embassy in Yemen speaks volumes about the incredibly precarious situation on the ground. It beggars belief that the UK is leaving all of these vulnerable people in limbo when all they want to do is to feel safe and secure, and to get on with their new lives.”

More than 5,800 people have been killed in Yemen, with 34 per cent of children out of schooling and hospitals. Schools and health centres were recently hit by air strikes.

Amnesty International saidys more than 80 per cent of the population – 21 million people – are in need of humanitarian aid, including two million children at risk of malnutrition.

Currently living in Glasgow, Fahim Mohamed is amongst those caught in the asylum system. he is homeless and destitute after a previous application failed. The pharmacist, who arrived in the UK in 2009, suffered persecution and torture in his homeland and submitted a fresh claim on December 18, but is yet to have state help reinstated.

Mohamed, who lives between homeless shelters and friends’ sofas, said the long wait has left him unable to work and it has hit his mental and physical health. He told The National: “I came when I was 34 years old, I’m now 40. I have waited enough time.

“I can’t go back to my country. I came here for safety. My life was dangerous in the past. I came here to work and make a life. I want to work and pay tax, I don’t have a criminal record. They give me nothing – no house, no help, no money. The case was refused in the middle of the war and they put me in the street. I want them to see the reality of how Yemen is and tell me I can stay. How long will it take?”

Last night, Scottish Refugee Council policy officer, Graham O’Neill, said: “The war in Yemen is persistent and complex. This, unsurprisingly, has created very high levels of internal displacement within a population which comprises both Yemenis, and those who have fled conflicts in neighbouring other refugee-producing countries.

"Notably, these include Somalia and Ethiopia who, unsurprisingly given the violence in Yemen today, are now fleeing the country too. Both the UNHRC and the International Red Cross have pinpointed that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is very severe.

"It is very important that the UK Government has this fact in its mind when deciding whether to grant refugee, humanitarian, or some other form of protection or respite to those fleeing persecution and extremely unsafe conditions in Yemen.”

In a letter, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said the UK “has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection” and that “there are currently no removals or flights into Yemen due to its situation”.

The Home Office did not respond to a request to explain the backlog of cases but, in a statement, a spokesman said: “All claims are carefully considered on their individual merits."

“Where people establish a genuine need of protection, asylum will be granted - but we expect those who are found not to need our protection to leave the UK.”