Yemen Saudi blockade: United Nations warns of 'untold thousands' of deaths

Yemen Saudi blockade: United Nations warns of 'untold thousands' of deaths

By almost every measure offered by the United Nations, the scale of the tragedy unfolding in Yemen is staggering: More than 20 million people need urgent humanitarian aid.

It said Monday the coalition would lift the blockade after widespread worldwide criticism.

The World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the World Food Programme said seven million people are on the brink of starvation.

"While the Saudi-led military coalition has partially lifted the recent blockade of Yemen, closure of much of the country's air, sea and land ports is making an already catastrophic situation far worse", they said.

The coalition said Monday that it would reopen ports in areas held by allied forces and loosen restrictions it had tightened after the firing of the missile, which was intercepted near Riyadh's worldwide airport.

The Saudi-led coalition hopes that will prevent "the smuggling of weapons, ammunitions, missile parts and cash that are regularly being supplied by Iran and Iranian accomplices to the Houthi rebels", the statement said.

The fiery comments by Saleh al-Sammad, the head of the Presidency Council of the Houthis, came during a rally of thousands of rebel supporters marching down a main boulevard in the capital, Sanaa.

The Saudi-led coalition has said it will keep Hodeidah port closed until a United Nations verification programme is reviewed to ensure no weapons reach the Houthis.

And aid agencies say Saudi Arabia's blockade of most of the country's major ports of entry is only deepening the crisis.

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation.

Even with a partial lifting of the blockade, the WFP estimates, an additional 3.2 million will be pushed into hunger and if left untreated, 150,000 children could die within the coming months.

"The supplies, which include medicines, vaccines and food, are essential to staving off disease and starvation".

For years, war has raged between the Yemen's internationally recognized government and the Houthi rebels who seized Yemen's capital along with the country's northwestern region.

"To deprive this many from the basic means of survival is an unconscionable act and a violation of humanitarian principles and law".

In another development, Daesh claimed responsibility for a vehicle bombing that security sources said killed 10 people, including civilians, at a security post in the government bastion of Aden on Tuesday.

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