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US Lawmakers Call On Saudi Government to Address Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

© AP Photo / Hani Mohammed / A man center, holds house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrikes in outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.
A man center, holds house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrikes in outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. - Sputnik International
The Saudi government is being urged to upgrade Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeidah to facilitate delivery of emergency food supplies to millions of starving Yemenis, according to a letter to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States from US Senator Todd Young and eight senate colleagues.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The letter released on Thursday calls on Saudi Arabia to refrain from bombing Hodeidah, to eliminate unnecessary delays in delivering humanitarian supplies through the port and to facilitate the delivery of cranes to increase the port’s capacity.

"While we believe the international community — including Saudi Arabia and the United States — has a moral imperative to help Yemenis at risk of starvation, we also believe it is in our strategic interests to do so," the letter to Saudi Arabia’s newly appointed ambassador Khalid bin Salman stated.

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The letter also urged the Saudi government to push for a political settlement to Yemen’s civil war and to "redouble" efforts to avoid hitting civilians in the Saudi-led air campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who control Yemen’s capital of Sanaa.

In addition to Young, the letter was signed by Senators Chris Murphy, John Boozman, Patrick Leahy, Cory Booker, Jeff Merkley, Richard Durbin, Christopher Coons and Ed Markey.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) calls Yemen the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with an estimated 18.8 million people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, including 10.3 million who are in danger of starvation.

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