United Nations dismisses Saudi conditions to reopen Yemen port

United Nations dismisses Saudi conditions to reopen Yemen port

Saudi Arabia and its allies tightened a longstanding blockade of Yemen's land, sea and air borders a week ago in response to a missile fired by the Iran-backed Huthis that was intercepted near Riyadh worldwide airport.

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.

So far, the only thing that putting the country on total lockdown has accomplished, according to the United Nations aid coordinator in Yemen, is "an already dire humanitarian situation".

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow reports from Djibouti. The humanitarian situation in the war-ravaged Yemen is now one of the deadliest in the world as starvation and lack of medical supplies leave millions at risk - the Saudi blockade of Yemen has added to the country's woes.

Jamie McGoldrick of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Tuesday the world body is aware of an announcement that the coalition was allowing deliveries to two ports in southern Yemen, AP reported.

The north of the country, home to 78 per cent of the population, had 20 days' stocks of diesel, crucial for pumping water and fighting cholera, and 10 days' stocks of gasoline, with no prospect of resupply soon, he said.

The conflict escalated when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in 2015 aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and strengthening Yemen's embattled government. But, said McGoldrick, the blockade puts that progress in jeopardy.

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening right now is unimaginable", he said. Humanitarian agencies had been successful in preventing starvation and tackling a cholera outbreak that has sickened more than 900,000 people in six months and killed over 2,200. "The humanitarians are just holding things together, waiting for a peace process which is very much in the distance", he said.

Although Iran denies backing the Houthi rebels, the Saudi-led coalition said it will continue to keep the seaport closed until the United Nations comes up with a program that ensures weapons intended for the Houthis do not make it into the country.



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