Aden airport receives first commercial flight after Yemen blockade

Aden airport receives first commercial flight after Yemen blockade

Aden airport receives first commercial flight after Yemen blockade

The coalition closed all air, land and sea access to Yemen on November 6 following the interception of a missile fired towards the Saudi capital, saying it had to stem the flow of arms from Iran to its Houthi opponents in the war in Yemen.

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 people closer to "starvation and death".

The UN's World Food Programme warned that current stocks of rice will run out in 111 days and wheat in 97.

The coalition said Monday that it would reopen ports in areas held by allied forces and loosen restrictions it had tightened after the firing of the missile, which was intercepted near Riyadh's worldwide airport.

He said that coalition announcements of the availability of two ports in southern Yemen are "helpful", but that the key need is access to the rebel-held Red Sea ports of Salif and Hodeida, closer to large population centers.

Despite the Saudi announcement, a top leader of Yemen's Shiite rebels on Monday vowed retaliation against the oil-rich kingdom over its disastrous blockade of his war-torn country.

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening here right now is unimaginable", said the UN's aid coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, this week.

Aid deliveries to the rebel-held ports of Hudaydah and Saleef would resume once the United Nations had addressed the coalition's concerns about weapons smuggling, they said.

On Thursday, the directors of the WHO, WFP and Unicef issued a joint statement urging the coalition to immediately permit the delivery of life-saving supplies, warning, "Without them, untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die". The war is being waged between the internationally recognized government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi movement backed by army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"Even before this latest blockade, based on this calculation Yemen would expect to see about 50,000 malnourished children under the age of five die from hunger or disease this year", the group said Wednesday, adding that this amounts to roughly one child dying in Yemen every 10 minutes.

The United Nations has warned a total blockade could cause starvation in Yemen, where war has killed at least 10,000 people in the last two and a half years.

"To deprive this many from the basic means of survival is an unconscionable act and a violation of humanitarian principles and law".

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