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.

 

At least 235 killed in Egypt mosque attack

Saudi Crown Prince calls Iran supreme leader 'new Hitler'

Syrian opposition agrees to send united delegation to Geneva talks

Saudi-led coalition clears passenger flights to Sanaa

Baghdad's Shabandar cafe marks century since opening

Turkey says Trump pledged to stop arming Kurds

Turkey president sues main opposition party leader

Lebanon's Hariri brings status quo back with him

Activists say 'everybody knew' about Libya slave trade

Erdogan says no contact 'at the moment' with Assad

Lebanon's Jumblatt criticises Saudi Arabia, Iran

China says it will make efforts on Syria reconstruction

Turkey to detain 79 former teachers in post-coup probe

Hezbollah hails PM's suspension of resignation

Syrian opposition aims for unity at talks in Riyadh

Egypt police kill 3 Islamists in shootout

Turkey unsure if Assad to be part of Syria political transition

Migrant arrivals from Libya down since EU deal

Palestinian factions leave Cairo talks with little progress

Sudan’s Bashir looks to Putin for ‘protection’ from US aggression

China, Djibouti forge 'strategic' ties

IS propaganda channels fall quiet in 'unprecedented' hiatus

Kremlin to create Syria congress despite Turkey ‘reservations’

Netanyahu berates deputy minister for 'offensive' remarks on US Jews

Egypt PM heads to Germany for medical treatment

Egypt destroys 10 SUVs carrying arms on Libya border

Outrage in Iraq over 'child marriage' bill

Iraq launches operation to clear last IS holdouts from desert

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home