Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Medical supplies, United Nations aid workers reach Yemen after blockade eased

Yemen port airport to reopen to aid says Saudi-led coalition Saudi Arabia eases blockade, reopens Yemen's Hudaydah port
Erik Tate | 26 November, 2017, 01:07

The coalition announced the closure of Yemen's air, land and sea borders on November 6, two days after a ballistic missile fired from the rebel-held territory in Yemen was intercepted over the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

About seven million people in Yemen - out of a population of 27 million - depend entirely on food aid, and four million rely on aid groups for clean water.

The coalition has given clearance for U.N. flights in and out of Sanaa from Amman on Saturday, involving the regular rotation of aid workers, said Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Three other aircraft, two carrying United Nations aid workers and another carrying Red Cross staff, also landed at the airport in the capital city Sanaa.

The coalition has been facing escalating criticisms from senior United Nations officials and humanitarian agencies who expressed mounting concerns over already worsening humanitarian catastrophes in the war-torn Arab country which largely depends on humanitarian aid supplies and food imports.

"We stress the critical importance of resuming also commercial imports, in particular fuel supplies for our humanitarian response - transportation and so on - and for water pumping, Laerke said".

The White House issued a statement saying that the USA welcomes the announcement that Sanaa International Airport was allowing the flow of humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people, adding, "We look forward to additional steps that will facilitate the unfettered flow of humanitarian and commercial goods from all ports of entry to the points of need".

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The three-year civil war continues to rage in Yemen, where 10,000 have died and around 3 million people have been displaced.

The White House made a statement that it looks forward to additional steps that will facilitate the flow of humanitarian and commercial goods from all ports of entry.

One flight evacuated five staffers of the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to Soumaya Beltifa of the ICRC in Yemen.

The UN Children's Fund said Saturday's flight was carrying more than 15 tonnes, or 1.9 million doses, of vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and other preventable diseases.

Saudi and US officials have said that the missile fired by the Houthis was manufactured in Iran.

The conflict in Yemen pits Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemen's ousted president against the internationally recognized government and its main backer, the Saudi-led coalition. The UN said in August that more than 20 million people are at risk from starvation in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and the northeast of Nigeria.

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