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Saudi-led coalition bombs airport runway in Yemen's capital

15 November 2017

Millions of lives were at risk because of the blockade, United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said to reporters in Geneva by telephone from Amman.

The UN has warned that an already catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Yemen was worsening each day that aid shipments remained blocked.

The UN aid agencies said the coalition's move to ease the siege was not enough, and warned of mass starvation and health catastrophes in Yemen's north.

The Saudi-led coalition said Monday it would reopen Yemen's ports closed after a ballistic missile attack by Yemen on Riyadh - but not ports in Houthi-control territory.

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McGoldrick was speaking to reporters in Geneva by phone from Amman, because he said flights into Sanaa were blocked.

The U.S.is supporting a Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the conflict, with intelligence, aerial refueling and the sale of weapons.

Saudi Arabia announced it shut down all ports after a Houthi ballistic missile attack near Riyadh's global airport.

He said that coalition announcements of the availability of two ports in southern Yemen are "helpful", but that the key need is access to the rebel-held Red Sea ports of Salif and Hodeida, closer to large population centers.

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"Without Sanaa airport and Hodeidah and Salif seaports fully functioning and able to receive cargo, the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen will continue", Dujarric told reporters in NY. The Saudi closure had drawn global condemnation and fears of a worsening humanitarian disaster in Yemen.

Those ports are in Yemeni cities of Aden, Mocha and Mukalla. The attack caused panic in the densely populated area, home to schools, markets and street vendors. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the media.

Saudi Arabia is backing supporters of ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against rebels called the Houthis, who are backed by Iran and allied with militants supporting former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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Saudi-led coalition bombs airport runway in Yemen's capital