19:01 GMT17 February 2020
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    All parties involved in the blockade of Yemen’s ports must facilitate access to humanitarian aid as required by international law, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said in a statement.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said that about 8.4 million Yemenis are "a step away from famine" and depend on UN operations for safe water, food, medicine and shelter.

    "[Parties involved should] fully facilitate sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access as required by international humanitarian law," McGoldrick said on Monday. "As stated by the UN Secretary-General, it is in the interest of everybody to stop this war."

    A Saudi-led coalition, which is engaged in an air campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, has closed all air, sea and land ports in the country on November 6 after a ballistic missile was fired at the direction of Riyadh from Yemen. The missile was intercepted by Saudi air defense systems.

    Numerous international observers have called on Saudi Arabia to end the blockade, which has exacerbated the mass suffering of Yemeni civilians.

    UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock warned soon after the blockade was introduced that millions could die in Yemen from hunger if the Saudi-led alliance did not allow humanitarian aid to have access to the country.    

    "It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year, where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011. It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims," UN head of Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said last month, according to the Independent.    

    On Friday, the White House said the United States believes the conflict in Yemen should be resolved through political negotiations in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

    A civil war broke out in Yemen in 2015 and an armed conflict has since been waged between the internationally recognized government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi rebel movement.


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    famine, blockade, UN, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
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