Fuel running out for Yemen hospitals, United Nations warns

Posted November 17, 2017

Despite the Saudi announcement, a top leader of Yemen's Shiite rebels on Monday vowed retaliation against the oil-rich kingdom over its disastrous blockade of his war-torn country.

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen announced on November 5 that it was closing all points of entry to Yemen after Houthi rebels launched an Iran-manufactured ballistic missile from Yemen to Riyadh.

The civil aviation department of Yemen said on Tuesday that the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting rebels in Yemen inflicted an airstrike on the Sanaa global airport, which resulted in the destruction of its navigation system.

"Even before this latest blockade, based on this calculation Yemen would expect to see about 50,000 malnourished children under the age of five die from hunger or disease this year", the group said Wednesday, adding that this amounts to roughly one child dying in Yemen every 10 minutes.

The World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the World Food Programme said seven million people are on the brink of starvation.

"The space and access we need to deliver humanitarian assistance is being choked off, threatening the lives of millions of vulnerable children and families". But the coalition has made little progress, and the rebels still control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.

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Iran denies arming the Houthis and blames the conflict in Yemen on Riyadh.

In this August 15, 2015 photo, a Yemeni child stands at a door as she waits to receive a polio vaccination during a house-to-house polio immunization campaign in Sanaa, Yemen.

Later Thursday, the United Nations spokesman said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has written to Saudi Arabia's United Nations ambassador, saying the kingdom's failure to reopen key airports and sea ports in Yemen is already reversing humanitarian efforts to tackle the crisis in the impoverished country.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres welcomes the reopening of the port in the city of Aden but says this "will not meet the needs of 28 million Yemenis".

Pressing the Government in the House of Lords, Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon said: "Even allowing for the fact of jihadist terrorism, is not the greatest threat to peace coming from the Middle East now the imminent danger of a conflict between the Sunnis and the Shias, led by Saudi Arabia and Tehran, in which the West is backing one side and Russian Federation the other?"

The fiery comments by Saleh al-Sammad, the head of the Presidency Council of the Houthis, came during a rally of thousands of rebel supporters marching down a main boulevard in the capital, Sanaa.

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