'Very disappointed' United Nations chief urges Saudis to lift Yemen blockade

17 November, 2017, 02:10 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Mohammed Huwais  AFP

The U.N. aid coordinator called on the Saudi-led coalition to open all Yemen's seaports urgently on Tuesday, saying millions of lives were at risk.

Hedile noted the first flight carrying 218 passengers took off today.

Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting, which pitches a coalition led by Riyadh in support of the internationally-recognised government of Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Earlier, the heads of three United Nations agencies warned that without deliveries of vital supplies such as food and medicine "untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die".

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused its regional rival Iran of supplying the missile but Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denied arming the Houthis and said the attack was a "reaction" by Yemenis to coalition air strikes.

It said Monday the coalition would lift the blockade after widespread worldwide criticism.

After two years of a devastating war, the Houthis still control much of Yemen's north while the south falls under the embattled President of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government is recognized by the global community and who is supported by the Saudi-led coalition.

In another development, Daesh claimed responsibility for a auto bombing that security sources said killed 10 people, including civilians, at a security post in the government bastion of Aden on Tuesday. Yemen was the Arab world's poorest country even before the conflict began.

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United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres welcomes the reopening of the port in the city of Aden but says this "will not meet the needs of 28 million Yemenis".

Yemen is also battling one of the world's worst outbreaks of cholera, that has left almost one million people ill and killed 2,200 people.

United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock warned at that meeting that unless the blockade was lifted, Yemen will face "the largest starvation the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims". Save the Children said there is no alternative to the closed ports for bringing in food and medical aid and warned that half of the 400,000 children suffering from malnutrition will go untreated if NGOs do not receive direct access to the country.

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