'No Indication' Saudi Coalition Reopening Yemen Ports
- Author: Tracy Klein Nov 15, 2017,
Nov 15, 2017, 1:05
He says they are now inaccessible to United Nations aid shipments.
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.
Without Sanaa airport and Hudaydah and Saleef seaports fully functioning and receiving cargo, the dire humanitarian situation will deteriorate further. But, said McGoldrick, the blockade puts that progress in jeopardy.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also said Tuesday that it is alarmed at the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen following the blockade.
Some UNHCR staff have also been affected, with some stranded outside the country and others lacking fuel for transport.
It's been about a week since Saudi Arabia locked down Yemen's land borders, air space, and seaports, because, it said, it wants to stop the flow of Iranian weapons to the Houthi rebels that the US -backed, Saudi-led coalition has been bombing for two years. On Monday, the coalition said it would reopen ports in areas held by allied forces and loosen restrictions it had raised after the firing of the missile, which was intercepted near Riyadh's global airport.
He added: "We believe that there should be a more robust verification mechanism in Hodeidah port and we want to work with the United Nations".
Despite the Saudi announcement, a top leader of Yemen's Shiite rebels on Monday vowed retaliation against the oil-rich kingdom over its blockade of his war-torn country.
After a November 4 ballistic missile attack near the Riyadh worldwide airport by Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia had announced it shut down all ports in Yemen.
The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's top priority humanitarian crisis, with more than 17 million people lacking food, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation. "The humanitarian impact of what is happening right now is unimaginable".
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". However, Saudi Arabia demanded more rigorous checks at the Red Sea port of Hodeida, which is being controlled by the rebels.
It says those ports are in Aden, Mocha and Mukalla.