Maronite Patriarch Arrives in Saudi Arabia


Maronite Patriarch Arrives in Saudi Arabia

The top United Nations aid official in Yemen called on the Saudi-led coalition on Tuesday to open all Yemen's sea ports urgently, saying it risked damaging the fight against cholera and hunger.

The Saudi-led coalition said Monday it would reopen Yemen's ports closed after a ballistic missile attack by Yemen on Riyadh - but not ports in Houthi-control territory.

However, McGoldrick said earlier in the day that there was "no indication" the coalition was actually lifting the blockade in line with its announcement.

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels bombed the airport in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, on Tuesday, Yemeni officials said, though there were conflicting reports as to the extent of the damage.

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, but demanded more rigorous checks at the Red Sea port of Hodeida.

The U.N. children's agency UNICEF had only three weeks of vaccine supplies left in Yemen, and both UNICEF and the World Health Organization had shipments of essential medicines and vaccines blocked in Djibouti, McGoldrick said. More than 2,000 Yemenis have died in the epidemic.

The agency reported that the closure of Yemen's border has halted the delivery of emergency assistance for almost 280,000 internally displaced people, and stranded some of its staff outside the country while others lack fuel for transport, he said.

It says: "The first step in this process will be taken within 24 hours and involves reopening all the ports in areas controlled by" Yemen's internationally recognized government, which the coalition backs.

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".

Saudi Arabia announced it shut down all ports after a Houthi ballistic missile attack near Riyadh's worldwide airport.

Iran has long denied supplying rockets to the Houthis.

Those ports are in Yemeni cities of Aden, Mocha and Mukalla. The Houthis have denied that.