Yemen port and airport 'opened for vital aid delivery'

Yemen port and airport 'opened for vital aid delivery'
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has reopened as the country continues to descend in chaos while the humanitarian situation deteriorates.
2 min read
23 November, 2017
Aid agencies warn Yemen is heading into the largest famine in decades [Getty]
Saudi Arabia has reopened ports desperately needed for delivery after a blockade that lasted for more than two weeks.

The Saudi Press Agency said on Tuesday that it would reopen Hodeidah port to receive "urgent humanitarian and relief materials" and Sanaa airport to UN aircraft from midday on Thursday (9am GMT), but did not specify if it would ease a blockade on commercial traffic.

Hodeidah, which is controlled by Houthi rebels backed by Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran, is a key conduit for much-needed food and medicine imports to Yemen.

The coalition imposed a total blockade of Yemen's ports and airports two days after the Houthis fired a missile at Saudi Arabia on November 4.

The missile was intercepted near Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport, sparking a war of words between Tehran and Riyadh, which accused Iran of "direct aggression" and supplying arms to the Houthis.

The United Nations Security Council on November 9 called for the blockade to be lifted, warning that otherwise Yemen would face "the largest famine the world has seen for decades".

The Houthi government on Tuesday announced the country's main international airport was fully functional again a week after a Saudi-led airstrike destroyed the facility's navigation system.

The airport had been open to only select humanitarian flights.

Allied with Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels control the capital Sanaa along with much of northern Yemen.