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Aid groups need safe access to Yemen airports: UN

5 May 2015 9:01


Aid groups require “safe and reliable” access of to Yemen’s airports in order to deliver critical supplies to the war stricken country, a UN relief official says.

“Without access to the airports, aid agencies are unable to bring in staff, vital supplies of medicines and other critical life-saving assistance, or undertake medical evacuations of their personnel,” said Johannes van der Klaauw in a press statement released on Monday.

The runways of Sana’a international airport have been rendered inoperable due to multiple Saudi airstrikes over the past week, the UN humanitarian coordinator added.

He went on to “strongly urge” Saudi Arabia to stop bombing the Sana’a international airport, referring to it as an “important lifeline” similar to all of the country’s other airports and seaports.

Earlier in the day, Saudi jets carried out multiple raids on the airports in the capital city, the western port city of Hudaydah, and the southern city of Aden. Aden’s airport was alone bombed over 150 times. Targets were also bombed in the southern province of Ibb and the northern Sa’ada province.

The Saudi military also shelled various locations in Sa’ada and northwestern Hajjah province.

Last week, an Iranian plane carrying medicine was forced to return after Saudi fighter jets targeted the Sana’a airport’s runway. During the attack, a plane belonging to a Yemeni airline was severely damaged.

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine the Houthis and to restore power to the country’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

On April 21, Riyadh announced the end of the first phase of its military operation, but airstrikes have continued with Saudi bombers targeting different areas across the country in a new phase.

On May 1, the World Health Organization said over 1,244 people lost their lives and 5,044 others were injured in Yemen from March 19 to April 27. According to the United Nations health agency, hundreds of women and children are among the victims.

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