United Nations dismisses the Saudi demand to re-open the Yemen Port


United Nations dismisses the Saudi demand to re-open the Yemen Port

The UN has warned that an already catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Yemen was worsening each day that aid shipments remained blocked.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted for a resolution declaring that U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen is not authorized under previous legislation which has given the president power to combat terror overseas and invade Iraq in 2003.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen shut down the country's entry points a week ago, after a missile attack was sacked by Houthis at Riyadh.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia said it would begin opening airports and seaports, but that has not happened yet.

McGoldrick says access to such ports is "helpful" but that the key need is access to the rebel-held Red Sea ports of Salif and Hodeida, closer to large population centers.

"We have some 21 million people needing assistance and seven million of those are in famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid", United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said.

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening here right now is unimaginable", he told reporters in Geneva in a phone conference.

"The continued closure by the Saudi-led coalition of critical seaports and airports is aggravating an already dire humanitarian situation".

The strike "led to the total destruction of the VOR/DME radio navigation system, taking it offline and thus halting the only flights at Sanaa airport - those of the United Nations and other global organisations delivering humanitarian assistance", the rebel-run General Authority for Civil Aviation said in a statement. He underscored that a United Nations verification and inspection mechanism is already in place and could work with the Saudi-led coalition on implementing strict procedure but Saudia has to open the port.

So far, Saudi wants to bring supplies into Yemen via the ports of Jizan and Aden, a plan McGoldrick said was unsafe and slow.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to push back the Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, and restore the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to power.