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UN: Saudi-led coalition undermines aid delivery to starving Yemenis

Aid relief arrives at the port of Hudaydah, Yemen on 21 May 2017 [Twitter]
Aid relief arrives at the port of Hudaydah, Yemen on 21 May 2017 [Twitter]

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has prevented the delivery of fuel to UN planes carrying humanitarian aid in Yemen, the international organisation has revealed.

Speaking to reporters in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, the Director of the UN Development Programme in Yemen Auke Lootsma said the country is suffering from the worst meningitis and cholera epidemics in the world in addition to a famine crisis.

He described the situation in the country as “very bleak”.

The UN operates two humanitarian flights into Sana’a from Amman and Djibouti, but there is not enough fuel in Yemen for the planes to make the return trips.

“We have difficulties obtaining permission from the coalition and from the government of Yemen to transport this jet fuel to Sana’a to facilitate these flights,” Lootsma said.

Read: Over 20m Yemenis in need of humanitarian aid

According to Al Jazeera, he also said that aid efforts are also hampered by delays and refusals of visas by the Yemeni government and by the rebels in control of Sana’a.

When asked why the jet fuel deliveries were blocked by the coalition, Lootsma said: “It is a good question, but I do not have an answer.”

Jet fuel must be delivered to Sanaa from the port of Aden, which is controlled by the Saudi-led coalition and the internationally-backed Yemeni government.

Since joining the war in Yemen in 2015, Saudi and its coalition had been accused of obstructing aid delivery to Yemenis on numerous occasions.

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International OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUNYemen