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

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

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

For its part, Iran long has denied supplying any arms to Yemen, though it has backed the Houthis and highlighted the high civilian casualties from the Saudi-led coalition's campaign of airstrikes.

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.

"Together, we issue another urgent appeal for the coalition to permit entry of lifesaving supplies to Yemen in response to what is now the worst humanitarian crisis in the world", reads a joint statement Thursday from World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus.

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 global airport.

The heads of three United Nations agencies urged the Saudi-led military coalition on Thursday to lift its blockade on Yemen, warning that "untold thousands" would die if it stayed in place.

The United Nations said most of the airport remained intact and that it would be able to receive aid shipments once the coalition follows through on its announced loosening of the blockade of the war-torn country.

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Like the capital, Sanaa, Hodeida and Salif are in rebel-held territory.

Facing mounting criticism from human rights groups for the disastrous humanitarian consequences of not allowing medical and food aid into northern Yemen, Saudi Arabia has once again offered measures that made no attempt at actually easing the problems. "Without them, untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die".

"And without food and safe water, the threat of starvation grows by the day".

After two years of a devastating war, the Houthis still control much of Yemen's north while the south falls under the embattled President of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government is recognized by the global community and who is supported by the Saudi-led coalition.

More than 8,670 people - 60% of them civilians - have also been killed and 49,960 injured in fighting on the ground and air strikes since the coalition intervened in the war in March 2015, according to the UN.

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

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