Vaccines arrive in Yemen after Saudi Arabia lifts blockade

Vaccines arrive in Yemen after Saudi Arabia lifts blockade

The Saudi-led military coalition that has been blockading Yemen's ports of entry said that it will reopen the main airport and a important Red Sea port to humanitarian traffic on November 23.

Aid shipments were awaiting delivery for several days in advance, after Saudi leaders agreed on Wednesday to lift the blockade.

About 7 million people face starvation in Yemen and their survival is dependent on worldwide assistance.

The UN humanitarian agency OCHA also said on Friday saying that supplies of petrol and diesel are expected to run out in the coming week and the largest fuel importing companies will no longer be able to supply the consumer market.

The country also faces one of the world's worst cholera outbreaks in modern history.

The three-year civil war continues to rage in Yemen, where 10,000 have died and around 3 million people have been displaced.

The airport had been open to only select humanitarian flights.

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FILE PHOTO: A malnourished boy lies on a bed at a malnutrition treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen November 21, 2017.

The blockade in Yemen, however, exacerbated a humanitarian crisis there, prompting staunch criticism from aid groups and the United Nations.

Jens Laerke, spokesman of the United Nations humanitarian aid coordination agency OCHA, said on Friday that what really matters is that "we can get the ports in Hodeidah and Saleef open both for humanitarian aid and for commercial imports".

Seven million Yemenis are completely dependent on relief supplies for their survival, according to the UN.

The UN had recently announced that it received permission from the Saudi-led coalition to back legitimacy in Yemen to transfer aid by air to Yemen from the Jordanian capital Amman to Sana'a. "Innocent civilians, including children, are still at risk of starvation and malnutrition due to this brutal blockade that has already taken its toll on the civilian population of the country". Three types of vaccines were sent, enough for 600,000 children.

Worldwide aid groups have welcomed the decision to let humanitarian aid in, but said aid flights are not enough to avert a humanitarian crisis.

Laerke further called for the reopening of the ports to allow humanitarian aid through.

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