Saudi-led coalition air raid puts Yemen's Sana'a airport out of service

Saul Bowman
November 15, 2017

It's been about a week since Saudi Arabia locked down Yemen's land borders, air space, and seaports, because, it said, it wants to stop the flow of Iranian weapons to the Houthi rebels that the USA -backed, Saudi-led coalition has been bombing for two years. The missile was intercepted near the capital of the country.

The conflict began in 2015 when the Houthis took over Yemen's capital of Sana'a and the Yemeni government. Yemen's national airline said on Tuesday a commercial flight had landed at Aden global airport after acquiring security permits. He said the flights would increase gradually over the coming days.

Supplies in the country are running a critical low, according to the United Nations: There's only 20 days worth of diesel (needed for pumping water - vital for sanitation and fighting cholera) and three weeks supply of vaccines for children.

An air raid by the Saudi-led military coalition put Yemeni airport in the Houthi-controlled capital Sana'a out of service today, jeopardising relief shipments to a country on the brink of starvation, the state news agency SABA reported.

McGoldrick emphasized on the fact that United Nations aid was the main lifeline for most of Yemen's population, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation.

Jamie McGoldrick of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, who is based in Amman, said UN staff had visited the airport and spoken with authorities there.

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening here right now is unimaginable", he told reporters in Geneva in a phone conference. The Saudi-led coalition was not immediately available for comment. The coalition closed all Yemen air, land and seaports last week in response to a rebel ballistic missile attack on Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia said Monday that the coalition would reopen seaports and airports in areas controlled by the Yemeni government, but those in rebel-held areas, including Hudaydah and Sanaa, would remain closed. But, said McGoldrick, the blockade puts that progress in jeopardy.

All humanitarian flights to Sanaa airport and all humanitarian and commercial vessel movements to the seaports of Hudaydah and Saleef have remained blocked since November 6, when the Saudi-led military coalition imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Yemen, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric quoted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as saying.

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