Medicine

Appeals to end Sanaa airport closure as it enters 2nd year

Appeals to end Sanaa airport closure as it enters 2nd year

The number exceeds the death toll of almost 9,000 people killed in violent attacks in Yemen.

"Denial of access to travel has condemned thousands of Yemenis with survivable illnesses to death", the NRC's Yemen director Mutasim Hamdan said.

"Yemen's public services are crumbling under the pressures of war", said the NRC's Hamdan.

"The official closure of Sanaa airport, one year ago today, effectively traps millions of Yemeni people and serves to prevent the free movement of commercial and humanitarian goods", the statement signed by groups including the International Rescue Committee and the Norwegian Refugee Council said.

In March 2015, Sudan called on its nationals to register at the embassy and be prepared to be evacuated following several armed but low key attacks on its premises immediately after Sudan joined the Saudi-led military operations against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

More than 54,000 people have been killed or injured since the coalition's involvement.

It said this was roughly equivalent to the number of people that have died as a direct result of the fighting and represented the hidden victims of the conflict.

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The closure has left many Yemenis with no safe means of transport in or out of the country, the NRC added in a statement. Mohammed travelled with his father for 24 hours by road to Seiyun Airport, in Yemen's south. Mohammed's father died less than a day before his flight.

The coalition, which intervened in the Yemen conflict in 2015 to support the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, controls the airspace over Yemen.

Jamie McGoldrick, the UN's top aid official in Yemen, said the United Nations had been lobbying the Saudi-led coalition and Yemen's exiled government in Aden to reopen the airport. The Houthis, however, control most of the north, including Sana'a, so a reopening would need agreement from both sides.

The aid groups said: "The current cholera outbreak and near-famine conditions in many parts of Yemen make the situation far worse".

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) along with 14 other aid organizations called on warring parties in Yemen to reopen Sana'a International Airport, warning that the year-long closure hinders the flow of humanitarian aid and prevents thousands of patients from flying overseas for life-saving treatment.

Riyadh and its allies have been blocking aid delivery to Yemen.


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