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Saudi-led coalition pledges to ease Yemen blockade
Hodeidah port following the strikes in August 2015 (Credit: MSC)

Saudi-led coalition pledges to ease Yemen blockade

The Saudi-led coalition said on Wednesday that it would re-open Hodeidah port to aid shipments but did not say it would be re-opened to commercial traffic.

The coalition has carried out a total blockade on Yemen’s ports airports since November 4 after a missile was fired at Riyadh airport.

The missile was fired by Houthi forces, who are fighting against the Saudi-led coalition and their preferred president Yemeni leader Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Houthis are backed by Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran.

The blockade led to soaring prices of basic goods and provoked outrage inside Yemen and from the international community.

On November 9, the United Nations Security Council called for the blockade to be lifted, saying that not to lift it risked “the largest famine the world has ever seen”.

Even before the blockade, there was a humanitarian crisis in Yemen with an outbreak of cholera and mass hunger.

Save the Children recently estimated that 130 children were dying every day from extreme hunger and disease.

In August 2015, the Port of Hodeidah was bombed by the Saudi-led coalition. At the time, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told CM that the ICRC had been informed by the local port authority that two of the nine piers were damaged.

This bombing was denounced by the United Nations as a clear breach of international humanitarian law.