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Yemen Ports Remain Closed Despite Saudi Promises

Nov. 15, 2017 (EIRNS)—Despite Saudi promises to re-open seaports and airports to humanitarian supplies in Yemen, some of the crucial ports are still being blockaded by the Saudis.

"We would ask that the coalition opens all the seaports as a matter of emergency and allows humanitarian and other supplies to move as well as aid workers,"

UN Yemen Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick told reporters in Geneva by phone from Amman, reported Anadolu. The Red Sea port of Hoideidah, through which the bulk of Yemen’s food supply has historically entered the country, remains closed, he said. McGoldrick warned that the vaccine supply is dangerously low, as are stocks of diesel fuel and gasoline.

McGoldrick also dismissed the Saudi demand that the UN should put in place tighter inspections of humanitarian cargoes in order to prevent weapons smuggling before the ports are re-opened.

"I don’t think discussions [on new inspections] should hamper the port remaining open," he said.

"The humanitarian aspect of this is something we need to address immediately, because we can’t have those ports closed or those airports closed while we wait for discussions on new [inspection] mandates to go ahead."

The blockade "is complicating what is already a catastrophic situation," McGoldrick said.

In New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that without Sana'a airport—which the Associated Press reported was hit by Saudi air strikes yesterday, though the extent of the damage is unclear—and Hodeida and Salif seaports fully functioning and able to receive cargo, "the dire humanitarian situation will deteriorate further." Dujarric reported that at a center for displaced Yemenis in Sana’a "hundreds more people are approaching the facility daily, saying they are no longer able to meet basic needs or afford medical care."