Saudi Arabia to reopen Yemen's air and seaports within next 24 hours

UN says Saudi's closure of Yemen's seaports undoes progress in fight against famine and cholera

Two key ports for humanitarian shipments to Yemen have remained closed since November 6, bringing starvation closer to Yemenis, said the United Nations on Tuesday. Reuters reported on Tuesday that the United Nations coordinator Jamie McGoldrick called on the the coalition to open the seaports, immediately.

Without Sanaa airport and Hudaydah and Saleef seaports fully functioning and receiving cargo, the dire humanitarian situation will deteriorate further.

He also said that the more the blockade tightens, the more the Houthis will develop their abilities to "respond to the assault of the enemy". REUTERS/Khaled AbdullahMcGoldrick said the Saudi plan to supply Yemen through the Saudi port of Jizan in the north and Aden in the south was too complicated, dangerous, slow and expensive, adding an estimated $30 per tonne to every shipment.

Some UNHCR staff have also been affected, with some stranded outside the country and others lacking fuel for transport.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen shut down the country's entry points a week ago, after a missile attack was sacked by Houthis at Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi told reporters in NY on Monday that ports in government-controlled areas such as Aden, Mukalla and Mocha will be reopened.

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Seven million people are at risk of starvation in Yemen, according to the United Nations, and are relying nearly exclusively on aid to feed themselves.

Saudi Arabia is backing supporters of ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against rebels called the Houthis, who are backed by Iran and allied with militants supporting former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening here right now is unimaginable", he told reporters in Geneva in a phone conference.

Yemen's national airline said a commercial flight had landed at Aden global airport on Tuesday after acquiring security permits, a step that will ease a blockade on one of the poorest Arab nations.

He said that a United Nations verification and inspection mechanism already in place could work with the Saudi-led coalition on implementing new procedures but that keeping ports closed in the interim was not viable.

McGoldrick says access to such ports is "helpful" but that the key need is access to the rebel-held Red Sea ports of Salif and Hodeida, closer to large population centers. More than 2,000 Yemenis have died in a cholera outbreak now affecting almost one million people, AFP reported.

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