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Vaccines arrive in Yemen after Saudi Arabia lifts blockade
26 November 2017, 01:05 | Floyd Cook
Saudis clear passenger flights to rebel-held Yemen airport: UN
"Full and immediate implementation of the announced measures is a first step in ensuring that food, medicine, and fuel reach the Yemeni people and that the aid organizations on the frontlines of mitigating this humanitarian crisis are able to do their essential work", she said.
However, the coalition's blockade has remained on Yemen's seaport of Hodeidah, which has cut off food, medicine and fuel imports to the Yemeni northern population where more than 7 million people are on the brink of starvation.
Unicef, the UN's children's fund, said its flight was carrying 15 tonnes, or 1.9 million doses, of vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus and other diseases.
"The needs are huge and there is much more to do for #YemenChildren", the world body said on its Twitter account.
The International Committee of the Red Cross landed a passenger flight at Sanaa on Wednesday, spokesman Ewan Watson told AFP.
But he warned that Saturday's aid delivery was not enough and demanded access to Sanaa airport for all flights in order to "save the lives of the sick", the rebel-run Saba news agency reported. The UN humanitarian affairs office said desperately needed shipments of food and medical supplies were unable to arrive at the Red Sea port of Hodeida, which remains blocked.
Officials at the port said on Saturday that no ships have arrived yet and they were not expecting any to dock soon.
The coalition closed air, land and sea access on November 6 to stop the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran.
Saudi Arabia levied an air, land and sea blockade on the country in early November after the Iranian-backed Houthi group fired a ballistic missile into the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh.
Saudi and USA officials have said that the missile fired by the Houthis was manufactured in Iran.
Sources in Washington said that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had asked Saudi Arabia to ease its blockade of Yemen before the kingdom made a decision to do so.
There have been reports that three have died of diphtheria in the town in the last week.
The coalition has asked the United Nations to send a team to discuss ways of bolstering its UNVIM programme which was agreed in 2015 to allow commercial ships to enter Hodeidah.
United Nations officials say Yemen is facing the world's largest cholera outbreak, near-famine conditions in places, and a severe breakdown in the health care system in what was already the Arab world's poorest country adding up to the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
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