GENEVA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that four UN planes carrying 200 tonnes of life-saving medicines and health supplies had landed at Sanaa Airport in Yemen this week.
The shipments include essential medicines, insulin vials, antibiotics, rabies vaccines, intravenous (IV) fluids, and other medical supplies and equipment.
"Health facilities and hospitals in Yemen desperately need to replenish their stocks. These shipments are crucial to keeping facilities functioning, and providing patients with life-saving healthcare," said Dr. Nevio Zagaria, WHO representative in Yemen.
Almost 16.4 million people lack access to health services across the country. For nearly three years, hospitals and health facilities have suffered a serious shortage of medicines and medical supplies, as well as specialized medical personnel.
"In Yemen, WHO is working with partners to ensure access to basic health services; strengthen disease surveillance; and provide life-sustaining services to people with chronic illnesses. To do this, we need consistent and unhindered humanitarian access to all areas of Yemen," added Dr. Zagaria.
Yemen has been in civil war since 2015, pitting Houthi forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed last month, and forces loyal to the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, sealed off land, sea and air access to Yemen in November 2017 after Houthi rebels launched a missile at the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The blockade was partially lifted later, but shipment of humanitarian supplies kept being affected.
UN statistics show that a total of 22 million people in Yemen are in need of humanitarian assistance. Over 70 percent of them live in proximity to the Red Sea ports of Hudaydah and Saleef.