Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saudi-led coalition to lift blockade on UN aid to Yemen

UN aid to Yemen
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has said the airport in the capital Sana'a and a key Red Sea port, Hudaydah, will re-open to United Nations aid shipments today.

They were blockaded by the coalition two weeks ago after Houthi rebels in Yemen launched a missile on the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The missile was intercepted near Riyadh's International Airport.

Saudi Arabia accused Iran of supplying arms to the Houthis, who control Hudaydah - a key conduit for much-needed food and medicine imports to Yemen.

The coalition has not said when or if it will ease a blockade on commercial traffic.

Aid group Save the Children has said opening the port and airport will be 'nowhere near enough to avert a potential famine' in Yemen - which also faces a deadly cholera epidemic.

"Humanitarian relief only provides a small portion of the essential goods needed in Yemen - commercial supplies are critical to feed the population and keep basic services running," it said.

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock called on November 8 for the blockade to be lifted, warning that Yemen would otherwise face "the largest famine the world has seen for decades".

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