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

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The top United Nations aid official in Yemen called on the Saudi-led coalition on Tuesday to open all Yemen's sea ports urgently, saying it risked damaging the fight against cholera and hunger.

The strike comes just a day after Saudi ambassador to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi agreed to reopen some ports to allow aid in.

An air raid by the Saudi-led military coalition fighting against the Houthi movement in Yemen shut down the airport in the capital Sanaa on Tuesday, further isolating the country where millions are on the brink of starvation, the state news agency SABA reported.

On November 4 Saudi Arabia said it intercepted north or Riyadh is said was sacked from Yemen - blaming Iran for the incident, Saudi authorities accused Iran of "declaring war" on their country.

He said many weapons have been smuggled to the Houthis through Hodeida and the small ports they control.

Iran denies arming the Houthis and blames the conflict in Yemen on Riyadh. The humanitarian situation in the war-ravaged Yemen is now one of the deadliest in the world as starvation and lack of medical supplies leave millions at risk - the Saudi blockade of Yemen has added to the country's woes. "Seven million people are already on the brink of starvation and the blockade will only bring them closer to it".


Meanwhile in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, the United Nations dismissed Houthi claims that a Saudi-led air strike had destroyed the navigation station of the global airport, which is critical to receiving already limited aid shipments.

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

Jamie McGoldrick of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, who is based in Amman, said UN staff had visited the airport and spoken with authorities there. The coalition closed all Yemen air, land and seaports last week in response to a rebel ballistic missile attack on Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia's mission to the United Nations says the Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen will begin reopening airports and seaports in the Arab world's poorest country.

McGoldrick says access to such ports is "helpful" but that the key need is access to the rebel-held Red Sea ports of Salif and Hodeida, closer to large population centers.

Those ports are in Yemeni cities of Aden, Mocha and Mukalla.

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