Yemen port and airport 'opened for vital aid delivery'

  • Yemen port and airport 'opened for vital aid delivery'

Yemen port and airport 'opened for vital aid delivery'

"Even if both the flights and humanitarian shipments will go through now, it is not solving the underlying crisis that a country that needs 90 percent of its goods imported is not getting in commercial food or fuel".

But he warned that Saturday's aid delivery was not enough and demanded access to Sanaa airport for all flights in order to "save the lives of the sick", the rebel-run Saba news agency reported.

The United Nations has said millions of Yemenis are in dire need of food aid and fuel for pumping clean water.

The Yemen was has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than 2 million, caused a cholera epidemic that had affected almost 1 million people, and drove Yemen to the verge of starvation.

The Saudi-led coalition's blockade of Yemen, which has cut off food imports to a population where 7 million people are on the brink of starvation, is "illegal collective punishment" of civilians, a prominent aid official said on Thursday.

The coalition had said it would lift its blockade of the port from Thursday but it remains in place.

The blockade is "severely hampering humanitarian operations, impeding humanitarians to provide much-needed assistance to millions of people who rely on it for their survival", Ben Lassoued said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was vital to get commercial traffic resumed.

Girls react as they stand near their damaged house at the site of a Saudi-led airstrike near in Sanaa on November 11.

The blockade came after Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile fired toward Riyadh.

Unicef, the UN's children's fund, said its flight was carrying 15 tonnes, or 1.9 million doses, of vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus and other diseases. Iran has denied supplying weapons.

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.

Global aid groups have welcomed the decision to let aid in, but said aid flights are not enough to avert a humanitarian crisis. The UN said in August that more than 20 million people are at risk from starvation in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and the northeast of Nigeria.

Since Nov. 6, the United Nations and worldwide aid agencies have repeatedly urged the coalition to lift the Yemen blockade.