Published: Thu, November 23, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Saudi Arabia eases blockade, reopens Yemen's Hudaydah port

Saudi Arabia eases blockade, reopens Yemen's Hudaydah port

The blockade was imposed after a missile was sacked by Yemen's Houthi rebels at Riyadh airport on November 4.

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen has announced it will reopen the war-torn country's main worldwide airport in the capital of Sanaa and a vital Red Sea port to give access to humanitarian aid.

It added the decision would take effect from November 23, Reuters reported.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen has pledged to reopen the country's main airport, as well as two main ports.

The coalition has announced that it's lifting the blockade after initially tightening it on November 6 after a missile attack on Riyadh by Yemeni rebels known as Houthis. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said this week that 2.5 million people in Yemen's busy cities that had no access to clean water, increasing the danger that a cholera epidemic will spread.

"Humanitarian relief only provides a small portion of the essential goods needed in Yemen - commercial supplies are critical to feed the population and keep basic services running", it said. "If that were to happen that would be a very welcome and critically important development".

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In response, the coalition ordered all ships to leave the ports at Hodeida and Salef.

Global aid groups describe Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis as millions are at risk of starvation.

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday warned citizens to "consider the risks" when travelling to Saudi Arabia due to militant threats and the threat of ballistic missile attacks on civilians by rebels in Yemen. The two ports have served as the only lifeline for northern Yemen, where most of the country's 27 million people live.

Airstrikes and ground fighting have left more than 10,000 people dead and driven 3 million from their homes since the coalition intervened in the war between forces loyal to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebels.

The United Nations says some 7 million Yemenis are on the brink of starvation and 945,000 have been infected since April with cholera.

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