Coalition bombs airport runway in Yemen capital

17 November, 2017, 00:27 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • YEMENCONFLICT

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

For its part, Iran long has denied supplying any arms to Yemen, though it has backed the Houthis and highlighted the high civilian casualties from the Saudi-led coalition's campaign of airstrikes.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from CT, took to the floor of the U.S. Senate Monday to draw attention to the "humanitarian nightmare" unfolding in Yemen - in part due to U.S. military assistance of the Saudi-led coalition laying seige to the country.

Despite the Saudi announcement, a top leader of Yemen's Shiite rebels on Monday vowed retaliation against the oil-rich kingdom over its disastrous blockade of his war-torn country.

"Together, we issue another urgent appeal for the coalition to permit entry of lifesaving supplies to Yemen in response to what is now the worst humanitarian crisis in the world", reads a joint statement Thursday from World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus.

"The first step in this process will be taken within 24 hours and involves reopening all the ports in areas controlled by" Yemen's internationally recognized government, which the coalition backs, read the mission's statement.

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So far, 29 vessels with 300,000 tonnes of food and 192,000 tonnes of fuel had been prevented from reaching Yemen, and a United Nations ship transporting 1,300 tonnes of health, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and nutrition supplies had been unable to dock at Hudaydah, they added.

"The supplies, which include medicines, vaccines and food, are essential to staving off disease and starvation".

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".

The coalition intervened in Yemen two and a half years ago to try to oust the Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, and restore President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government to power. It says over 50,000 children are believed to have died in 2017.

But "even with a partial lifting of the blockade, the World Food Programme estimates that an additional 3.2 million people will be pushed into hunger".

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

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