Saudi-led coalition air raid puts Yemen's Sana'a airport out of service

Saudi-led coalition air raid puts Yemen's Sana'a airport out of service

Premature babies lie in an incubator in the child care unit of a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen November 14, 2017.

The Saudi-led coalition said Monday it would reopen Yemen's ports closed after a ballistic missile attack by Yemen on Riyadh - but not ports in Houthi-control territory. Reuters reported on Tuesday that the United Nations coordinator Jamie McGoldrick called on the the coalition to open the seaports, immediately.

The announcement from the Saudi mission at the United Nations came after the coalition fighting Yemen's rebels, known as Houthis, faced widespread global criticism over the closure, with the U.N. and over 20 aid groups saying it could bring millions of people closer to "starvation and death". "I think it poses a critical threat to the lives of millions who are already struggling to survive".

Noting that there were three weeks of vaccines left in the country, McGoldrick said "humanitarian supplies are dangerously low". He underscored that a United Nations verification and inspection mechanism is already in place and could work with the Saudi-led coalition on implementing strict procedure but Saudia has to open the port. The Houthis have denied that.

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The UN has warned that an already catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Yemen was worsening each day that aid shipments remained blocked. "We would ask that the coalition opens all the seaports as a matter of urgency and allows humanitarian and other supplies to move, as well as the movement of aid workers", he said.

However, the port of Hodeidah on the western coast, where almost 80 percent of Yemen's food imports have gone through, is still closed. "There are many sources of supply to Yemen, even during the past week or so". Humanitarian agencies have been making gains in fighting starvation as well as the deadly cholera outbreak that has killed over 2,200 and made almost 1 million people ill. "The humanitarians are just holding things together, waiting for a peace process which is very much in the distance".

Jamie McGoldrick said the north of the country had 20 days' stocks of diesel, which were crucial for pumping water and fighting a huge cholera outbreak, and 10 days' stocks of gasoline, with no prospect of resupply soon.

Yemen's national airline said on Tuesday a commercial flight had landed at Aden worldwide airport after acquiring security permits, a step that will ease a blockade on one of the poorest Arab nations.

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