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

Donald Trump

The White House welcomed in a statement to the coalition the initiative led by Saudi Arabia to reopen the port of Hodeidah and Sanaa International Airport to allow humanitarian aid to enter Yemen.

Humanitarian aid workers and medical supplies began to arrive in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Saturday, UN officials said, after the easing of a almost three-week-old blockade that caused an global outcry.

Airport director Khaled Al Shayef said that apart from the vaccinations shipment a flight carrying eight employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross had also landed.

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.

Millions in Yemen are at immediate risk if food aid and the supply of fuel for pumping clean water are interrupted, it says.

The United Nations has warned that unless the blockade is lifted, Yemen will face "the largest starvation the world has seen for decades".

The port of Salef is also expected to reopen, deputy United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq said in NY, citing information that United Nations humanitarian and political officials had received from their Saudi counterparts.

The coalition closed air, land and sea access in a move it said was to stop the flow of arms to the Houthis, who control much of northern Yemen, from Iran.

The Arab coalition fighting Yemeni rebels announced Wednesday that it would allow the resumption of humanitarian deliveries to Sanaa airport and the crucial Red Sea port of Hodeida, after a more than two-week blockade following a missile attack on Riyadh. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons.

Previously, the United Nations leaders appealed for an immediate lifting of the humanitarian blockade in Yemen.

Facing worldwide pressure, Saudi Arabia's permanent representative to the UN announced on November 13 that his nation would reopen government-controlled ports and airports within 24 hours to humanitarian shipments.

The Hudaydah region is controlled by the Houthi armed group, which the Saudi-led coalition was invited to neutralise by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in March 2015.

In an interview just before the coalition made the announcement, McGoldrick told The Associated Press that a continued blockade would make Yemen's long-suffering population more vulnerable to cholera and starvation.

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