Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Yemen's civilians pay price of Saudi-led blockade

Yemen's civilians pay price of Saudi-led blockade Yemen's civilians pay price of Saudi-led blockade
Lance Thomas | 17 November, 2017, 00:23

Earlier this month, the Saudi-led coalition closed access to Yemeni ports following a ballistic missile attack toward Riyadh by Houthi rebels.

The Saudi-led coalition went to war against the rebels, known as Houthis, in March 2015 on behalf of Yemen's internationally recognized government.

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels bombed the airport in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, on Tuesday, Yemeni officials said, though there were conflicting reports as to the extent of the damage.

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

The World Health Programme, World Food Programme and Unicef said the reopening of government-controlled air and sea ports this week was not sufficient.

The coalition said Monday that it would reopen ports in areas held by allied forces and loosen restrictions it had tightened after the firing of the missile, which was intercepted near Riyadh's global airport.

Like the capital, Sanaa, Hodeida and Salif are in rebel-held territory.

Aid deliveries to the rebel-held ports of Hudaydah and Saleef would resume once the United Nations had addressed the coalition's concerns about weapons smuggling, they said.

An worldwide aid group says an estimated 130 children or more die every day in war-torn Yemen from extreme hunger and disease.

On Thursday, the directors of the WHO, WFP and Unicef issued a joint statement urging the coalition to immediately permit the delivery of life-saving supplies, warning, "Without them, untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die".

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation.

But even before this blockade, Save the Children estimated that "50,000 malnourished children under the age of five [will] die from hunger or disease" in 2017.

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 worldwide community and who is supported by the Saudi-led coalition.

"To deprive this many from the basic means of survival is an unconscionable act and a violation of humanitarian principles and law", the agency directors warned.

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.

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