Fuel running out for Yemen hospitals, United Nations warns

The Saudi-led military coalition shut down Yemen's sea and air ports as well as borders on November 6 in response to a missile attack by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels near Riyadh.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused its regional rival Iran of supplying the missile but Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denied arming the Houthis and said the attack was a "reaction" by Yemenis to coalition air strikes.

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.

On Monday, thousands of Yemenis took to the streets to protest the blockade.

On Thursday, the leaders of the World Health Organization, the United Nations children's agency and the World Food Program issued a joint appeal for the easing of the blockade.

Like the capital, Sanaa, Hodeida and Salif are in rebel-held territory.

Other ports - such as rebel-held Hodeidah, the entry point for 80 percent of delivered aid, according to The Guardian - remain closed, however.

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.

Save the Children reported that Yemen will see an average of 130 children a day - or one child every 10 minutes - die this year due to obstructions to humanitarian aid and what is now regarded as the largest cholera outbreak seen in modern history.

Earlier, the heads of three United Nations agencies warned that without deliveries of vital supplies such as food and medicine "untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die".

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.

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.

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.

"To deprive this many from the basic means of survival is an unconscionable act and a violation of humanitarian principles and law", the agency directors warned.

  • Jon Douglas