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

Donald Trump

After a missile launch by the Houthi rebels targeting Riyadh, Saudi Arabia chose to tighten the blockade of Yemen, which hampered the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Yemeni civilians.

About 7 million people in Yemen, out of a population of 27 million, depend entirely on food aid, and 4 million rely on aid groups for clean water.

"Full and immediate implementation of the announced measures is a first step in ensuring that food, medicine, and fuel reach the Yemeni people and that the aid organizations on the frontlines of mitigating this humanitarian crisis are able to do their essential work", she said.

"First plane landed in Sanaa this morning with humanitarian aid workers", WFP's regional spokeswoman Abeer Etefa told Reuters in an e-mail, while officials at Sanaa airport said two other United Nations flights had arrived on Saturday.

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

The Sanaa airport officials have confirmed that two other humanitarian flights had landed in Yemen on Saturday.


Ahmed Ben Lassoued of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 32 flights have been cancelled since November 6, when the coalition ordered a tightening of the Yemen blockade.

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".

The U.S. -backed coalition closed air, land and sea access on November 6, in a move it said was to stop the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran. Iran has denied supplying weapons.

The heads of three United Nations agencies had earlier urged the Saudi-led military coalition to lift the blockade, warning that "untold thousands" would die if it stayed in place.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

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

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