First Aid Flight in 3 Weeks Lands in Yemen's Sana'a

26 November, 2017, 02:18 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
  • Aid agencies say Yemen blockade remains Egeland calls it “collective punishment”

The praise from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders came days after the Saudi-led coalition said it would reopen Sanaa International Airport in Yemen, as well as the port at Hudaydah, Yemen's main port of entry for humanitarian aid.

"First plane landed in Sana'a this morning with humanitarian aid workers", WFP's regional spokeswoman Abeer Etefa told Reuters in an email.

Yemen is highly dependent on imported wheat for its basic needs, and aid groups have warned that humanitarian deliveries cover only a small portion of the need.

Aid shipments of food and medicines to the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida continue to be blocked by the coalition.

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The UN Children's Fund said Saturday's flight was carrying more than 15 tonnes, or 1.9 million doses, of vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and other preventable diseases.

The United Nations has said millions of Yemenis are in dire need of food aid and fuel for pumping clean water. About 7 million people face starvation in Yemen and their survival depends on global assistance.

Officials at the port said on Saturday that no ships have arrived yet and they were not expecting any to dock soon.

The Saudi-led coalition has come under nearly daily pressure and expressions of concern from United Nations officials, some governments and advocacy groups who fear an already dire situation in a country largely depending on aid from overseas will worsen. Iran has denied supplying weapons.

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Facing global 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.

Yemenis have endured an intensified 2-1/2-year war involving a Shiite rebel group, known as the Houthis, which controls many population centers in western Yemen and an internationally recognized government that has backing of Saudi Arabia and several other key Persian Gulf states.

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.

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