Yemeni rebels temporarily authorize UN flights to Sana’a

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Iran-backed rebel groups in Yemen said Tuesday they had temporarily allowed UN humanitarian flights to land at the airport in the capital, Sanaa, after the rebel-held northbound flights were suspended for a week.

The Houthi rebels, who control Sanaa and most of northern Yemen, have prevented UN and other humanitarian flights from landing at the airport after a major Saudi-led coalition airstrike on the capital and cross-border missile and drone attacks by the Houthi. kingdom. he. At the time, the United Nations Food Program (WFP) said the Houthis claimed the airport was already inoperable due to technical problems.

The Houthis have accused the Saudi-led coalition of blocking the arrival of new air traffic control equipment. The coalition aims to restore power to Yemen’s internationally recognized government and maintain an air, land and sea blockade of Sanaa and northern Yemen.

The Houthis said on Tuesday that Sanaa airport was “ready to receive flights” from the United Nations and other international humanitarian organizations. They also urged the United Nations to help facilitate the arrival of air control equipment from Djibouti.

The war in Yemen broke out in 2014 when the Houthis seized Sanaa and forced the ruling government into exile in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition later became involved in the conflict in March 2015.

In recent years, war has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. More than half of Yemen’s 16.2 million population faces acute hunger and 2.3 million children are at risk of malnutrition, according to WFP.

WFP said earlier this month that it will cut its aid to 8 million people from January due to funding shortages. It was stated that these people will receive almost half of what they currently earn from the agency, while the 5 million people “at risk of starvation” will continue to receive their full share of WFP.

“The present times call for imperative action. We had to expand our limited resources and set priorities. “We are currently focusing on the people most in critical situations,” said Corinne Fleischer, WFP regional manager. He said the agency’s stocks were “too low” and urged donors to increase their contributions to avoid an impending shortage.

WFP says it needs $1.97 billion by 2022 to continue providing basic food assistance to families on the brink of famine in Yemen. [ab/ka]

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