Saudi Arabia eases blockade, reopens Yemen's Hudaydah port

Three-year-old Mohammad was admitted to hospital for malnutrition this week

The Saudi-led coalition has laid siege to Yemen since Houthi rebels seized parts of the country in 2015.

Children protest against the Saudi-led coalition outside the United Nations offices in Sanaa, Yemen November 20, 2017.

About 7 million people face starvation in Yemen and their survival is dependent on worldwide assistance.

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

"Even if both the flights and humanitarian shipments will go through now, it is not solving the underlying crisis that a country that needs 90 percent of its goods imported is not getting in commercial food or fuel".

"We have not yet had any movement as of now", said Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance.

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The United Nations says that if Saudi Arabia reopens the airport in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and its Red Sea ports of Hodeida and Salef as the kingdom has indicated it would do, it will be "a very welcome and critically important development".

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

The charity Save the Children said an estimated 20,000 Yemeni children under the age of five were joining the ranks of the severely malnourished every month, "an average of 27 children every hour". The announcement came after the coalition tightened a blockade November 6, in response to a missile fired toward the Saudi capital by Shiite rebels in Yemen. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons.

The United Nations Security Council on November 9 called for the blockade to be lifted, warning that otherwise Yemen would face "the largest starvation the world has seen for decades".

The UN humanitarian agency OCHA also said on Friday saying that supplies of petrol and diesel are expected to run out in the coming week and the largest fuel importing companies will no longer be able to supply the consumer market.

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