United Nations dismisses the Saudi demand to re-open the Yemen Port

United Nations dismisses the Saudi demand to re-open the Yemen Port

The Saudi-led coalition has said it will keep Hodeidah port closed until a United Nations verification programme is reviewed to ensure no weapons reach the Houthis.

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

The Saudi ambassador to the United Nations on Monday said that his country is preparing to reopen all air and sea ports in areas controlled by the Yemeni government "within the next 24 hours".

On Monday, Saudi Arabia said it would begin opening airports and seaports, but that has not happened yet.

The UN's aid coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said there was no time to wait for a new inspection system to be set up.

So far, Saudi wants to bring supplies into Yemen via the ports of Jizan and Aden, a plan McGoldrick said was unsafe and slow.

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.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to push back the Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, and restore the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to power. REUTERS/Khaled AbdullahHumanitarian 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 blockade "is complicating what is already a catastrophic situation", McGoldrick said. "This import blockage will reverse those gains and leave millions of people in a very precarious situation as we move ahead". "The humanitarian impact of what is happening right now is unimaginable", he said. Yemen had commercial wheat stocks for three months for the entire population of 28 million and about 120 days of rice.

The announcement from the Saudi mission at the United Nations came after the coalition fighting Yemen's rebels, known as Houthis, faced widespread global criticism over the closure, with the U.N. and over 20 aid groups saying it could bring millions of already suffering people closer to "starvation and death".

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