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First UN aid ship in 4 months docks in Yemen’s Aden

21 July 2015 17:18


The first cargo ship chartered by the United Nations and carrying relief supplies has docked at a port in the southern Yemeni city of Aden since the onset of the Saudi aggression against its impoverished southern neighbor, the governor of the beleaguered city says.

Nayef al-Bakri told reporters on Tuesday that the vessel, carrying the most desperately need supplies, is chartered by the World Food Programme (WFP), the food assistance branch of the United Nations.

“This is the first boat carrying the UN flag to dock in Aden since the war began” in late March, the governor added.

Saudi Arabia, which has been pounding the impoverished Yemeni nation since March 26, has imposed a blockade on Yemen and on several occasions prevented the provision of any assistance to the people in the city.

“This will be the first WFP chartered ship to reach the port in Aden,” Reem Nada, a spokeswoman for the WFP, said shortly before the ship entered the harbor.

The WFP said that the ship, which is carrying 3,000 tonnes of food aid, is a “breakthrough” that will provide a month’s worth of food assistance for 180,000 people in the southern provinces of Yemen.

Nada said, “We’ve attempted several times to reach the port of Aden but all of those attempts until today were unsuccessful due to severe fighting in the port.”

“We have been able to reach Aden and the south by road before but it’s a breakthrough to be able to bring in food directly to Aden port,” Nada added.

According to the United Nations, some 12.9 million Yemenis are in dire need of food and other forms of assistance.

“Emergency livelihoods assistance is needed, with subsistence farmers and fisherfolk facing serious food insecurity,” a report by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on the situation in Yemen said on July 13.

“Emergency food assistance is needed,” the report said, adding, “Staple wheat flour is unavailable in Aden.”

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen without a UN mandate in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

According to a recent UN report, at least 1,670 civilians have been killed and another 3,829 people injured since the beginning of the Saudi military campaign.

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