26 November, 2017
The Saudi Press Agency said on Tuesday that it would reopen Hodeidah port to receive "urgent humanitarian and relief materials" and Sanaa airport to United Nations aircraft from midday on Thursday (9am GMT), but did not specify if it would ease a blockade on commercial traffic.
It was not clear if fuel imports, crucial for supplying clean water, would resume as part of the easing of the blockade, he said.
However, the coalition's blockade has remained on Yemen's seaport of Hodeidah, which has cut off food, medicine and fuel imports to the Yemeni northern population where more than 7 million people are on the brink of starvation.
"After more than two weeks of blockade of these ports, there are various kinds of supplies essential for fighting starvation, for fighting cholera and other types of humanitarian threats that millions of people are facing in Yemen today", Laerke said.
A disruption of water supplies could reverse recent gains in containing the spread of cholera, which reached about 900,000 suspected cases over the past year, he added.
A second flight carried Russian diplomats, according to an airport official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
First aid planes in weeks land in Yemen's Sanaa marking end to blockade
Saudi Arabia levied an air, land and sea blockade on the country in early November after the Iranian-backed Houthi group fired a ballistic missile into the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh. This includes Sana'a airport and Hodeida Port, which will ensure their speedy delivery to those in need throughout Yemen.
The UN children's fund UNICEF said Saturday's flight was carrying more than 15 tonnes, or 1.9 million doses, of vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and other preventable diseases.
Seven million Yemenis are completely dependent on relief supplies for their survival, according to the UN.
In response, ships were ordered to leave the Red Sea ports of Hodeida and Salef, the only lifeline to northern Yemen where most of the population lives.
Airstrikes and ground fighting have left more than 10,000 people dead and driven 3 million from their homes since the coalition intervened in the war between forces loyal to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebels. The UN said in August that more than 20 million people are at risk from starvation in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and the northeast of Nigeria.
Since Nov. 6, the United Nations and global aid agencies have repeatedly urged the coalition to lift the Yemen blockade.
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