Saudis lift Yemen blockade for aid supplies


"The reported reopening by the Saudi-led Coalition of Hodeida Port and Sana'a Airport for humanitarian aid is a glimmer of hope in the countdown towards starvation in Yemen".

The coalition sys the United Nations and worldwide relief groups have demanded the coalition allow full access to hubs in Yemen so that humanitarian aid can reach those that desperately need it.

"Humanitarian relief only provides a small portion of the essential goods needed in Yemen - commercial supplies are critical to feed the population and keep basic services running", it said.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) described the move as a "half measure at best" warning that aid alone can not feed the country.

"They stressed the importance of addressing the humanitarian situation in Yemen and we said that we understood and that the closures were temporary while we work on a comprehensive aid and access plan", the official said.

The coalition said on Wednesday that it would reopen the war-torn country's main airport and a key Red Sea port to humanitarian traffic on Thursday.

Oxfam described said the move was an "empty gesture while millions of Yemenis see their lives threatened by the two-week blockade on the country".

Reopening the ports to aid but not to commercial imports is pitiful bartering with peoples lives.

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The committee says that commercial shipments of food and fuel must resume immediately.

"This brinksmanship has to stop". The proposed reopening to humanitarian supplies is a step in the right direction, but represents a minor and insufficient concession within a blockade that is causing the suffering of millions of Yemeni people.

The coalition imposed the blockade two days after Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen fired a missile at Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on November 4. The missile was struck down but it was the farthest a projectile by the rebels, also known as Houthis, had penetrated into the kingdom.

Houthis have been controlling much of Yemen's north by force, including the capital Sanaa since 2014.

The Huthi government on Tuesday announced the country's main worldwide airport was fully functional again a week after a Saudi-led air strike destroyed the facility's navigation system.

Worldwide aid groups describe Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis as millions are at risk of starvation.

For more than two years, airstrikes and ground fighting have left over 10,000 people dead, driven 3 million from their homes, and destroyed the country's already fragile infrastructure.