The Saudi Arabian government has allowed humanitarian aid to enter the strategic Yemeni port of Hudaydah in addition to resuming UN flights to Sana’a airport after announcing it will ease the military blockade on Yemen.
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.
The Hudaydah region is controlled by the Houthi armed group, which the Saudi-led coalition was invited to neutralise by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in March 2015.
“We’re monitoring these developments,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said in New York on news that Saudi will ease the blockade. “If that were to happen that would be a very welcome and critically important development.”
It has been reported that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pressured Saudi Arabia to ease its blockade of Yemen in order to allow vital aid and special UN flights to the capital, Sana’a.
The Houthi armed group took over Sana’a in late 2014, alongside former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s loyalists.
Welcome progress that Hodeida is now open for humanitarian cargo, and UN flights can resume using Sana'a airport. Next step: resumption of commercial shipping into the northern ports to get volumes of food into #Yemen to the level needed.
— Simon Shercliff (@SimonShercliff) November 22, 2017
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned earlier this week that 2.5 million Yemenis are without access to clean water.
Impoverished Yemen has been at war since 2014 when the Houthi armed group took over swathes of territory from northern to southern Yemen. The conflict has remained a stalemate, despite a coalition of Arab states conducting an air and land offensive against the Houthis.