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Iran seeking safe routes to send aid to Yemen: IRCS

23 May 2015 8:33


Iran is examining safe routes to dispatch its aid ship for people in war-ravaged Yemen from Djibouti to the western Yemeni port of Hudaydah, the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) says.

“We are coordinating with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to deliver Iran’s humanitarian aid to the oppressed Yemeni people in Hudaydah port after making sure that the route is safe,” IRCS Secretary General Ali Asghar Ahmadi told IRNA on Friday.

He added that all people on board the Iranian vessel, dubbed Nejat (Rescue), are in full health and noted that the rest of the ship’s itinerary would be determined on Saturday.

“The Nejat ship has been dispatched to Djibouti in order to assess the situation. We are sending humanitarian supplies to Yemen needed by its people and we do not want to face any problems in this regard,” Ahmadi said.

The Iranian relief cargo, carrying 2,500 tons of basic supplies, including flour, rice, medicine, and water, docked in Djibouti on Friday.

Several international journalists, doctors, and anti-war activists are aboard the ship, which left the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas on May 11.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program (WFP) said on Friday that the Iranian ship had originally been bound for the Hudaydah port, but its aid cargo will now be delivered by the WFP.

“The cargo of the ship will be handed over to WFP in Djibouti and will be transferred to WFP-chartered vessels for shipment to the Yemeni ports of Hudaydah and/or (the southern port city of) Aden,” Abeer Etefa said.

“It will be delivered to humanitarian partners on the ground for distribution,” she added.

Saudi Arabia has already blocked Iranian aid deliveries to Yemen. Last month, it prevented two Iranian civilian planes from delivering medical aid and foodstuff to people in the impoverished country.

Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 — without a UN mandate — in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which currently controls the capital, Sana’a, and major provinces, and to restore power to Yemen’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

The United Nations says that, since March 19, over 1,800 people have been killed and 7,330 injured due to the conflict in Yemen, which was exacerbated by the Saudi airstrikes.

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