UNITED NATIONS, Relaxing of a three-week blockade of war-torn and famine-threatened Yemen, to allow humanitarian aid to enter was welcomed by the United Nations, but the amount of goods delivered was described as "just a drop in the bucket."
"We are glad that the deliveries of goods were able to resume at Hudaydah, Saleef (seaports) and at Sanaa airport, but this is just a drop in the bucket," chief UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
"We need to make sure that there is unimpeded and open availability of deliveries of food, of fuel, whether by land, by sea or by air," he said. "The needs in Yemen are tremendous."
"On Saturday, three humanitarian flights landed and took off from Sanaa airport, including two UN Humanitarian Air Service passenger flights and one humanitarian cargo flight," Dujarric said. "One of those flights delivered 1.9 million doses of diphtheria vaccines for 600,000 children, to protect them against whooping cough, tuberculosis, pneumonia and meningitis."
He said the vaccines will help contain an outbreak of diphtheria. More than 170 suspected diphtheria cases and at least 14 deaths in Ibb Governorate have been recorded since Aug.
The first commercial cargo vessel, carrying 5,500 metric tonnes of wheat flour, docked Sunday, for the first time since Nov 6, at Hudaydah port and a UN-chartered vessel carrying 25,000 metric tonnes of bulk wheat, tied up at Saleef port on Monday, the spokesman said.
"With rapidly dwindling fuel stocks in Yemen and the dire humanitarian situation pushing at least seven million people towards famine, it is important that there is unimpeded access for both humanitarian and commercial cargo to enter Hudaydah and Saleef ports. And that's not the case currently," he said.
"Fuel is urgently required to operate generators for hospitals, water well pumps and sanitation units, and to facilitate the trucking of drinking water and staple food to vulnerable people in need," the spokesman said, noting that some 21 million Yemenis need humanitarian assistance.
Pressed by reporters on the question of who was impeding access, Dujarric said, "There are challenges pegged to the Saudi-led coalition."
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK