United Nations, Nov 28: Allowing the resumption of some humanitarian aid to the conflict-wracked country after a three-week blockade, the United Nations said on Tuesday that the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has eased restrictions at the main airport and two key ports.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said three humanitarian flights landed and took off from the capital of Sanaa on Saturday, the first commercial cargo vessel docked in the port of Hodeida on Sunday, and a UN-chartered vessel docked at the port in Salif today.
Despite the resumption, he warned that rapidly dwindling fuel stocks and the dire humanitarian situation are pushing at least 7 million people toward famine. Dujarric said the commercial ship carried 5,500 metric tons of wheat flour and the UN-chartered vessel carried 25,000 metric tons of bulk wheat.
But he stressed that "it is important that there is unimpeded access for both humanitarian and commercial cargo to enter Hodeida and Salif ports, including those carrying fuel."
"Fuel is urgently required to operate generators for hospitals, water well pumps and sanitation units and to facilitate the trucking of drinking water and staple food" to some 21 million Yemenis who need humanitarian assistance, he said.
Dujarric said one of the flights Saturday delivered 1.9 million doses of diphtheria vaccines, enough to protect 600,000 children against a whooping cough, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and meningitis.
"These vaccines will help to contain the current outbreak of diphtheria, which since August has seen more than 170 suspected cases and at least 14 deaths recorded in Ibb governorate," he said.