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1st aid ship enters Yemen’s port after three-week blockade: Official

26 November 2017 21:54

A ship carrying 5,500 tonnes of flour have docked in Yemen’s Hudaydah port in the Red Sea, the first since the regime in Riyadh ordered a tightening of the blockade of the impoverished country.

“The ship is 106 metres long and carries 5,500 tonnes of flour,” a Yemeni official, whose name was not mentioned, said on Sunday.

The delivery is the first aid package to arrive through Hudaydah in several weeks.

Meanwhile, after re-opening the airport in the capital Sana’a, UNICEF also sent vaccines there.

UNICEF says more than 11 million Yemeni children in Yemen are in acute need of aid. It is estimated that every 10 minutes a child dies of a preventable disease there as Saudi Arabia pushes ahead with its devastating aerial bombardment campaign against the conflict-plagued Arab country, according to UNICEF.

Regional UNICEF director Geert Cappelaere said on Sunday that the UN child agency had lately flown 1.9 million doses of vaccines to Yemen, describing the recent shipment as a “very small step” amid immense need for medicine.

‘Over 11 million Yemeni children in dire need of aid’

The UNICEF says more than 11 million children in Yemen are in acute need of aid.

Riyadh imposed a tight blockade on nearly all Yemeni air, land and sea ports on November 6, prompting human rights and charity groups to raise the alarm over deteriorating situation in the country as people, particularly children, are increasingly suffering from lack of food and medical supplies.

Aid agencies said the blockade had worsened the humanitarian crisis in Yemen where the ongoing Saudi-led war has left an estimated 7 million people facing famine.

‘Saudi blockade of Yemen collective punishment’

A prominent aid agency says the Saudi blockade of Yemen is still in place, calling it an illegal collective punishment of Yemeni people.

According to the Save the Children charity organization, an estimated 20,000 Yemeni children under the age of five are described severely malnourished every month, “an average of 27 children every hour.”

More than 12,000 people have been killed since the onset of Saudi Arabia’s deadly campaign against Yemen in March 2015. Much of the Arabian Peninsula country’s infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due to the war.

Another 2,100 people have died of cholera since April as hospitals struggle to secure basic supplies across the country.

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