Saudi-led Coalition to Reopen Yemen Port, Airport for Humanitarian Aid

The coalition, fighting Yemen's Houthi rebels, enforced a strict blockade earlier this month after a missile targeting Saudi Arabia was fired from Yemen

A malnourished Yemeni child receives treatment at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, November 22, 2017.
MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting against the Houthi movement in Yemen said on Wednesday it would allow aid access through the port of Hodeidah and United Nations flights to Sanaa airport.

The coalition closed all air, land and sea access to Yemen earlier this month following the interception of a missile fired toward the Saudi capital. It said it had to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran, seen by Riyadh as the movement’s main backers.

Aid agencies warned the move would worsen the humanitarian crisis in Yemen where the war has left an estimated seven million people facing famine.

“The port of Hodeidah will be reopened to receive food aid and humanitarian relief, and Sanaa airport will be open for UN flights with humanitarian relief,” a statement from carried by the Saudi state news agency SPA said.

It added the decision would take effect from November 23.

The coalition allowed the resumption of international commercial flights and opened Aden port last week, but it said the main aid route into the country (Hodeidah) would stay closed until it was satisfied its Houthi opponents could not use it to bring in weapons.