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On Sunday, the coalition led by Saudi Arabia “decided to temporarily close Yemeni soil, air and ports” a day after a missile was fired from the border with Yemen to the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Millions of people will die of hunger in Yemen if the coalition led by Saudi Arabia does not put an end to the air and maritime blockade imposed on the country since Sunday, said today (08.11.2017) the United Nations (UN) emergency office. It is not possible to establish a timetable on how long it will take before the famine consumes the country if humanitarian aid does not reach the people, Mark Lowcock told reporters after reporting to the UN Security Council in New York.
“It will not be like the famine we saw in South Sudan at the beginning of the year, when tens of thousands of people were affected, nor will it be like the famine that cost 250,000 lives in Somalia in 2011. It will be the biggest famine the world has ever had. seen for several decades with millions of victims, “Lowcock said.
The Arab coalition, which has been fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015, announced on Monday the temporary blockade of all Yemeni air, sea and land ports without indicating how long the measure will be maintained. The decision came after Saudi Arabia intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Houthi forces near Riyadh.
Although the coalition had said it would allow the entry and exit of Yemen from relief and humanitarian aid teams, the UN has ensured that all aid supplies remain “stopped.”
Access to humanitarian aid
For its part, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) urged the coalition led by Saudi Arabia to lift the temporary blockade to allow immediate access to humanitarian aid to the country. MSF said in a statement that for three days the Arab coalition has not allowed it to access flights to Yemen, which “directly hinders” its “ability to provide vital medical and humanitarian assistance to a population that is already in dire need.”
“The broader impact of this blockade on Yemen’s men, women and children is already evident and endangers hundreds of thousands of lives,” said Yemen’s general coordinator in Yemen, Justin Armstrong. “The price of fuel has skyrocketed in major centers, diesel and gas supplies for cooking are becoming scarce and shipments of essential drugs are stagnating at border crossings,” he explained.
Already, access to health services in Yemen is basically non-existent and hundreds of health centers have been closed, damaged or totally destroyed by the conflict in the country. Millions of Yemenis have been displaced and there is a significant shortage of basic goods, such as clean water and adequate food, said MSF.