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17 November 2017, 12:23 | Bernice Figueroa
UN council fails to push Saudi coalition over Yemen blockade
The coalition closed all air, land and sea access to Yemen on November 6 following the interception of a missile fired towards the Saudi capital, saying it had to stem the flow of arms from Iran to its Houthi opponents in the war in Yemen.
The coalition said it closed the ports and borders to stop the flow of arms from Iran to the Houthis.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from CT, took to the floor of the U.S. Senate Monday to draw attention to the "humanitarian nightmare" unfolding in Yemen - in part due to U.S. military assistance of the Saudi-led coalition laying seige to the country.
The World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the World Food Programme said seven million people are on the brink of starvation.
"The first step in this process will be taken within 24 hours and involves reopening all the ports in areas controlled by" Yemen's internationally recognized government, which the coalition backs, read the mission's statement.
The closure of rebel-held ports was "making an already catastrophic situation far worse", they added.
"We spoke about the humanitarian situation and the measures that needed to be taken so that worldwide aid can quickly get to the Yemeni population that have an extremely urgent need", Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a news conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel Jubeir.
But northern Yemen, where basic medicine like insulin and cancer drugs have wholly run out, and food supplies are dwindling down to their last few weeks before outright mass starvation, will remain closed.
The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation.
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 worldwide community and who is supported by the Saudi-led coalition.
Even with a partial lifting of the blockade, the WFP estimates, an additional 3.2 million will be pushed into hunger and if left untreated, 150,000 children could die within the coming months.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict since March 2015 and three million have been displaced.
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