Aid workers to return to Yemen at weekend but no aid yet

Saudi Arabia eases blockade, reopens Yemen's Hudaydah port

A United Nations plane carrying vaccines has landed in Yemen after a three-week blockade led by Saudi Arabia was finally lifted. Around seven million people are at risk of starvation in Yemen, and at least one million children are exposed to a recent outbreak of both diphtheria and cholera.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemeni dominant Shiite Houthi rebels said on Wednesday it would allow access of humanitarian supply planes to Sanaa and ships carrying aid to the Red Sea port of Hodeidah.

A flight carrying humanitarian aid worker landed in Sanaa, the first after a almost three week blockade imposed by the Saudi-led military coalition, an official of the U.N.'s World Food Programme (WFP) said.

Humanitarian aid deliveries have been resumed after Saudi authorities informed the UN on Friday that they would allow civilian flights operated by the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) to arrive in the Yemeni capital beginning Saturday. "What really matters is (1) that the resumption of these flights becomes sustainable and, secondly, that we can get the ports in Hodeida and Saleef open both for humanitarian aid and for commercial imports".

"We look forward to additional steps that will facilitate the unfettered flow of humanitarian and commercial goods from all ports of entry to the points of need", the White House said in a statement.

The Sanaa airport officials have confirmed that two other humanitarian flights had landed in Yemen on Saturday.

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The U.S. -backed coalition closed air, land and sea access on November 6, in a move it said was to stop the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran.

Sources in Washington said that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had asked Saudi Arabia to ease its blockade of Yemen before the kingdom made a decision to do so.

The United States called on the worldwide community to take the necessary steps to "hold the Iranian regime accountable for its repeated violations of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2216 (adopted in 2015) and UN resolution 2231 as the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps exploits the grave humanitarian crisis in Yemen to advance its regional ambitions".

The conflict in Yemen pits Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemen's ousted president against the internationally recognized government and its main backer, the Saudi-led coalition.

United Nations officials say Yemen is facing the world's largest cholera outbreak, near-famine conditions in places, and a severe breakdown in the health care system in what was already the Arab world's poorest country — adding up to the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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