First Published: 2017-11-11

UN: Saudi Arabia must do more to ease Yemen blockade
Yemen on brink of 'largest famine world has ever seen' along with cholera outbreak and shortages in medical supplies.
Middle East Online

Girl scavenges at a garbage dump in a street in Sanaa, Yemen.

NEW YORK - The Saudi-led coalition is still blocking desperately-needed UN aid deliveries to Yemen despite the re-opening of the port of Aden and of a land border crossing, a UN spokesman said Friday.

"Humanitarian movements into Yemen remain blocked," said Russell Geekie, spokesman for the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian aid OCHA.

"The reopening of the port in Aden is not enough. We need to see the blockade of all the ports lifted, especially Hodeida, for both humanitarians and for commercial imports."

The coalition shut down Yemen's borders on Monday in response to a missile attack by Huthi rebels that was intercepted near Riyadh airport.

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council this week that unless the blockade is lifted, Yemen will face "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims."

After an outcry from the United Nations, the coalition on Wednesday reopened Aden, which is controlled by pro-Saudi government forces, and on Thursday opened the land crossing at Wadea on the Saudi-Yemen border.

But Geekie said no aid had gone into Aden yet and the reopening of the Wadea crossing did not affect UN operations.

The transport minister of Yemen's internationally recognized government, Murad al-Halimi, said that two airports in the loyalist-held southern cities of Aden and Seiyun would also reopen from Sunday, Yemeni media reported.

He said national carrier Yemenia would resume its flights to and from the two airports, from where it flies to destinations including Amman and Cairo.

The sea port at Hodeida, which is in rebel-held territory, is key to UN aid efforts as it is closest to the majority of people in need.

The coalition accuses rebels of using aid shipments to smuggle in weapons.

Before the blockade, UN aid agencies were delivering food and medicine through Hodeida, Saleef and Aden ports.

"There can be no alternative for all these ports being fully functional and receiving commercial and humanitarian cargo," said the spokesman.

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of famine.

More than 2,000 Yemenis have died in a cholera outbreak now affecting nearly one million people.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in neighboring Yemen in March 2015 to push back the Iran-backed Huthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, and restore the government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to power.

 

Turkey warns Syria against protecting Kurds

Two hardline Syria rebels announce merger

IS kills 25 Iraqi militiamen near Kirkuk

Sudan frees dozens of activists detained after protests

Saudi Arabia to host first Arab Fashion Week

Somalia appoints new police, intelligence chiefs

Iran plane crash rescue search halted for second night

France reaffirms commitment to Iran nuclear deal

Abbas warms up to Moscow amid cold US-Palestinian ties

Israel strikes 'historic' gas contract with Egypt

Are Iranian satellite channels aiding regime change?

Israel pounds Gaza with air strikes after rocket attack

Iraq orders deportation of French jihadist

Pro-Assad militias to enter Syria's Afrin

Three Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai

Israeli, US officials meet over gas row with Lebanon

Iran's supreme leader says progress needed on justice

Syria Kurds claim striking positions in Turkey

Netanyahu warns Iran, brandishes piece of metal

66 feared dead as plane crashes in Iranian mountains

Saudi women to open businesses without male permission

Netanyahu slams 'outrageous' Holocaust remark by Polish PM

Israeli air strikes kill 2 in Gaza

Six suffer breathing difficulties after Turkish shelling in Afrin

Russian mercenaries - a discrete weapon in Syria

Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

Fears of expanding Syrian war could trigger peace deal

Battle to free Mosul of IS 'intellectual terrorism'

Turkey frees Garman-Turk journalist after one year without charge

Turkey hands life sentences to 3 journalists for Gulen links

Turkey, US agree to ‘work together’ in Syria

Thousands protest corruption in Tel Aviv amid PM indictment call

Prominent jihadist commander killed by rival Syria rebels

300 Russians killed in Syria battle last week

Tillerson, Erdogan have ‘productive, open’ talk

Iran raises rates, freezes accounts in bid to shore up rial

Kremlin says five Russians killed in US Syria strikes

Oman FM in rare visit by Arab official to Jerusalem

Senior IS leader extradited to Iraq from Turkey

Strikes hit another hospital in Syria's Idlib

Churches snub Jerusalem reception over tax dispute with Israeli authorities

Tillerson says US never gave 'heavy arms' to Kurdish YPG

Captured foreign IS suspects claim innocence

Yemeni mother awaits death penalty for spying for UAE

Fuel shortage shuts down Gaza's only power plant