UN Still Can Send Humanitarian Flights to Sanaa Airport After Recent Strike

A Yemeni man receives treatment at a hospital after a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Taez Yemen on Tuesday

Hedile noted the first flight carrying 218 passengers took off today.

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen announced on November 5 that it was closing all points of entry to Yemen after Houthi rebels launched an Iran-manufactured ballistic missile from Yemen to Riyadh.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia's state-run media agency celebrated its delivery of food baskets to needy families and, as The Guardian reports, announced it would allow shipments of aid through several ports held by the Yemeni government.

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.

The Saudi-led coalition went to war against the rebels, known as Houthis, in March 2015 on behalf of Yemen's internationally recognized government.

The United Nations has warned a total blockade could cause starvation in Yemen, where war has killed at least 10,000 people in the last two and a half years. Yemen was the Arab world's poorest country even before the conflict began. "If left untreated, 150,000 malnourished children could die within the coming months", the three major aid agencies said in their statement Thursday, significantly adding to the figure presented by Save the Children.

A Houthi fighter inspects the site of an airstrike in the Yemeni capital Sanaa earlier this month
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The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has written to Saudi Arabia's U.N. ambassador saying the kingdom's failure to reopen key Yemen airports and sea ports is reversing humanitarian efforts to tackle the crisis in the impoverished country.

Dujarric said the United Nations refugee agency expressed alarm at the worsening humanitarian situation, noting that at a center for displaced Yemenis in Sanaa "hundreds more people are approaching the facility daily, saying they are no longer able to meet basic needs or afford medical care".

In the letter to Saudi Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi, Guterres called on the coalition to allow United Nations flights to Sanaa and Aden, and to reopen the key ports of Hodeida and Saleef in rebel-held territory.

The closure of rebel-held ports was "making an already catastrophic situation far worse", they added.

Jamie McGoldrick, of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said U.N. staff had visited the airport and spoken with authorities there, and that its "runway, taxiway, ramp, terminal and air traffic control tower were not hit and are in good condition".

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