Saudi-Led Coalition Refuses to Re-Open Key Yemen Port

Saudi-Led Coalition Refuses to Re-Open Key Yemen Port

Seven million people are at risk of starvation in Yemen, according to the United Nations, and are relying nearly exclusively on aid to feed themselves.

Saudi Arabia announced Monday that the Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen will begin reopening airports and seaports in the Arab world's poorest country, days after closing them over a rebel ballistic missile attack on Riyadh.

McGoldrick was speaking to reporters in Geneva by phone from Amman, because he said flights into Sanaa were blocked.

The demonstrations came a day after Houthi rebels threatened to attack warships and oil tankers from the Saudi-led coalition in retaliation to the blockade.

McGoldrick said the Saudi plan to supply Yemen through the Saudi port of Jizan in the north and Aden in the south was too complicated, dangerous, slow and expensive, adding an estimated $30 per tonne to every shipment.

Iran-backed rebels Yemen have accused Saudi Arabia of blowing up part of the capital's airport and preventing much-needed aid from entering the country.

"The first step in this process will be taken within 24 hours and involves reopening all the ports in areas controlled by" Yemen's internationally recognized government, which the coalition backs, read the mission's statement.

Some 2,000 of those deaths were the result of a cholera epidemic that swept rebel-held areas this summer, with half a million people infected.

"This import blockage will reverse those gains and leave millions of people in a very precarious situation as we move ahead". He said the flights would increase gradually over the coming days.

Noting that there were three weeks of vaccines left in the country, McGoldrick said "humanitarian supplies are dangerously low".

Rebel authorities in Yemen said on Tuesday that a Saudi-led air strike had destroyed a navigation station at Sanaa worldwide airport, which is critical to receiving already limited aid shipments.

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