Coalition to Gradually Reopen Yemen's Seaports, Airports

Saudi Arabia to reopen Yemen's air and seaports within next 24 hours

Two key ports for humanitarian shipments to Yemen have remained closed since November 6, bringing starvation closer to Yemenis, said the United Nations on Tuesday.

While coalition announcements about the availability of two ports in southern Yemen are "helpful", the key need is access to the rebel-held Red Sea ports of Salif and Hodeida, which are now inaccessible to United Nations aid shipments.

Without Sanaa airport and Hudaydah and Saleef seaports fully functioning and receiving cargo, the dire humanitarian situation will deteriorate further.

"I would like to draw your urgent attention to the extremely appalling situation in Yemen, caused by aggression, indiscriminate targeting of civilians and a blockade, imposing intolerable suffering on the Yemeni people", Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote, calling for worldwide action to end the mass destruction in Yemen, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the Foreign Ministry's website.

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The House of Representatives on Monday held its first ever debate over US military engagement in the civil war raging in Yemen and passed a non-binding resolution calling on parties to wage the conflict humanely and work toward bringing it to an end.

Some UNHCR staff have also been affected, with some stranded outside the country and others lacking fuel for transport.

The House vote came a day before the top United Nations aid official in Yemen called on the Saudi-led coalition to open all Yemen's sea ports urgently, saying it risked undoing the fight against cholera and hunger, with 7 million already in "famine-like conditions".

Saudi Arabia said Monday that the coalition would reopen seaports and airports in areas controlled by the Yemeni government, but those in rebel-held areas, including Hudaydah and Sanaa, would remain closed.

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The US-backed coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been at war in with the Shiite rebels known as Houthis since March 2015.

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening here right now is unimaginable", Mr. McGoldrick told reporters.

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.

Houthi rebel leaders said on Tuesday that the radio navigation system at Sanaa International Airport had been destroyed in a Saudi airstrike. However, Saudi Arabia demanded more rigorous checks at the Red Sea port of Hodeida, which is being controlled by the rebels.

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