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Key ports for humanitarian shipments to Yemen remain closed

Key ports for humanitarian shipments to Yemen remain closed

The top United Nations aid official in Yemen called on the Saudi-led coalition on Tuesday to open all Yemen's sea ports urgently, saying it risked damaging the fight against cholera and hunger.

Hedile noted the first flight carrying 218 passengers took off today.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen shut down the country's entry points a week ago, after a missile attack was sacked by Houthis at Riyadh.

On November 4 Saudi Arabia said it intercepted north or Riyadh is said was sacked from Yemen - blaming Iran for the incident, Saudi authorities accused Iran of "declaring war" on their country.

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's top priority humanitarian crisis, with more than 17 million people lacking food, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation.

He says they are now inaccessible to United Nations aid shipments.

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The strike comes just a day after Saudi ambassador to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi agreed to reopen some ports to allow aid in.

The Saudi-led coalition hopes that will prevent "the smuggling of weapons, ammunitions, missile parts and cash that are regularly being supplied by Iran and Iranian accomplices to the Houthi rebels", the statement said. "Without Sanaa airport and Hodeidah and Salif seaports fully functioning and able to receive cargo, the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen will continue", Dujarric told reporters in NY. For ports in rebel-held or disputed territories, such as the city of Hodeida, the mission said it has asked the U.N.to send a team of experts to discuss ways to make sure weapons can't be smuggled in.

Al-Mouallimi told reports from NY that the Coalition would conduct this process in complete agreement with Yemen's internationally recognized government, to allow the safe delivery of humanitarian aid.

Saudi Arabia and the USA have accused Iran of supplying the ballistic missile used in that attack. But the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida remains closed. The coalition has said it has reopened the port of Aden and a land border, both controlled by its allies in the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Jamie McGoldrick said the north of the country had 20 days' stocks of diesel, which were crucial for pumping water and fighting a huge cholera outbreak, and 10 days' stocks of gasoline, with no prospect of resupply soon.