'No sign' Saudi-coalition easing Yemen port blockade: USAID chief

'No sign' Saudi-coalition easing Yemen port blockade: USAID chief
USAID administrator Mark Green said there are no signs to suggest the Saudi-led coalition is easing its blockade on Yemeni ports to resume the flow of aid.
2 min read
13 December, 2017
The Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on Yemeni ports last month [Getty]
There are no signs to suggest there will be an easing of a Saudi-led military blockade of Yemen's ports to allow aid to reach communities increasingly at risk of starvation, the head of the US government's aid agency said on Tuesday.

The coalition fighting the Houthi rebel movement imposed a blockade last month after a missile was fired towards Riyadh, and has yet to continue the flow of much-needed supplies to millions caught in the fighting.

"Unfortunately I can't tell you there has been an easing of the blockade," Green told Reuters. "We're trying to signal with this announcement that we're ready to respond to this humanitarian catastrophe," USAID administrator Mark Green said, calling on the Saudi-led military coalition to open Yemen's ports and for Yemen's Houthis to cease firing to allow food and medical aid.

Green said he was "deeply concerned on so many fronts" about the crisis in Yemen, but in particular the failure to get fuel into the country so people have access to clean water.

"That means a number of communities are either without clean water or will be very shortly, and in both cases that is a terrible concern from the cholera perspective and the survival perspective," he added.

Green was speaking after the US announced another $130 million in emergency food aid for Yemen, bringing US assistance to nearly $768 million since October 2016. The new funds includes nearly $84 million in US food aid and $46 million in emergency disaster assistance.

On Monday, the UN's coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said the blockade has been eased but the situation remained dire with some 8.4 million people "a step away from famine" in Yemen.

Last week, Washington warned Saudi Arabia that concern in Congress over the humanitarian situation in Yemen could affect US assistance to allies in the Saudi-led coalition, including the US refuelling of coalition jets and some intelligence sharing.