United Nations chief warns millions could die if Yemen blockade is not lifted

UN Red Cross urge Saudi-led coalition to re-open aid lifeline to Yemen

The coalition shut down Yemen's borders in response to a missile attack by Yemen's Huthi rebels that was intercepted near the Riyadh airport.

According to SBS News, "some 17 million Yemenis are in desperate need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation and cholera has caused more than 2,000 deaths".

The war has led Yemen to the world's most humanitarian catastrophe with less than one million Yemenis hit by a deadly cholera outbreak and pushed the poor Arab country into the brink of mass starvation. Saudi Arabia blamed the strike on Iran, which supports the Houthis but has denied arming them.

"In six weeks, the food supplies to feed them will be exhausted".

The UN official spoke to reporters after briefing the UN Security Council during a closed-door session on the crisis in Yemen, where the coalition has been waging a military campaign against Huthi rebels since March 2015.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian community in Yemen also warned that the current stock of vaccines in the country will only last one month and if not replenished, outbreaks of communicable diseases are to be expected with fatal consequences, particularly for children under five and those already suffering from malnutrition.

They urged an "immediate opening" of all air and seaports. She is here in the U.S.to receive the International Free Press Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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The blockade has already led to a fuel crisis in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, where hundreds of cars lined the roads Wednesday after the Houthis ordered the closure of fuel stations.

- Calls for the coalition blockade to be lifted to allow aid pass through.

Yemeni officials also said those who need to be hospitalized overseas can not leave the country. Numerous victims were women and children, the official told Xinhua by phone on condition of anonymity.

Calling for the immediate opening of all air and seaports to ensure the entry of food, fuel and medicines into the country, the humanitarian community ask the Saudi-led Coalition to facilitate unhindered access of aid workers to people in need, in compliance with global law, by ensuring the resumption of all humanitarian flights.

"What we need to see is a reduction of blockages on all sides, not an increase on them", he said.

"In 2015, soon after Saudi coalition initiated war on Yemen, I wrote to the (U.N. secretary general) offering a 4-point peace plan: ceasefire; humanitarian assistance; Intra-Yemeni dialogue; and inclusive government", he tweeted.

This is the latest in a series of airstrikes by the coalition since the war began more than two and a half years.

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