Key ports for humanitarian shipments to Yemen remain closed: UN

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-15 04:08:21|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Two key ports for humanitarian shipments to Yemen have remained closed since Nov. 6, bringing famine closer to Yemenis, said the United Nations on Tuesday.

All humanitarian flights to Sanaa airport and all humanitarian and commercial vessel movements to the seaports of Hudaydah and Saleef have remained blocked since Nov. 6, when the Saudi-led military coalition imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Yemen, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric quoted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as saying.

Without Sanaa airport and Hudaydah and Saleef seaports fully functioning and receiving cargo, the dire humanitarian situation will deteriorate further.

Seven million people are already on the brink of famine, and the blockade will only bring them closer to it, OCHA warned.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also said Tuesday that it is alarmed at the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen following the blockade.

The border closures are hindering aid deliveries, as new stocks of UNHCR emergency assistance targeting nearly 280,000 internally displaced people have been halted.

Some UNHCR staff have also been affected, with some stranded outside the country and others lacking fuel for transport.

The Saudi-led coalition sealed off Yemen after Saudi Arabia intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen toward the Saudi capital city of Riyadh on Nov. 4.

Saudi Arabia said Monday that the coalition would reopen seaports and airports in areas controlled by the Yemeni government, but those in rebel-held areas, including Hudaydah and Sanaa, would remain closed.

The Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting Houthi rebels and is trying to restore the government of Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, has requested UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to send experts to Riyadh to develop a more robust verification and inspection mechanism to prevent the smuggling of weapons and missile parts into Yemen.

Dujarric said Tuesday that the United Nations is ready to hold conversations over the issue of inspection. But he stressed that the reopening of Hudaydah and Sanaa is urgently needed.