UN seeks safe access to Yemen airports for relief operations

4 May 2015 (Last Updated May 4th, 2015 18:30)

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that the recent airstrikes by Saudi Arabia-led coalition on the runway of Sana’a international airport in Yemen, are preventing the delivery of critical supplies to the war-torn country.

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The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that the recent airstrikes by Saudi Arabia-led coalition on the runway of Sana'a international airport in Yemen, are preventing the delivery of critical supplies to the war-torn country.

Yemen has been embroiled in a political struggle between two opposing groups, one of which is under the internationally recognised President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and another that supports former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Coalition airstrikes have rendered the airport inoperable, and all flights have been cancelled while the runways are being repaired.

UN relief coordinator for Yemen Johannes van der Klaauw said: "Without access to the airports, aid agencies are unable to bring in staff, vital supplies of medicines and other critical life-saving assistance, or undertake medical evacuations of their personnel.

"I strongly urge the coalition to stop targeting Sana'a international airport and to preserve this important lifeline - and all other airports and seaports - so that humanitarians can reach all those affected by the armed conflict in Yemen."

Over the last one year, Yemen has experienced violence resulting from fights between the Houthi rebels and the group supporting Hadi.
Houthis have attacked the Aden and Tiaz airports.

In the wake of mounting violence, Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a military campaign on 26 March to support the Government of Hadi.

While Riyadh announced the end of the first phase of its military operation in Yemen on 21 April, airstrikes have continued with Saudi bombers targeting different areas across the country.

According to the UN, more than 1,200 people have been killed and 300,000 have fled their homes in nearly two months of fighting in Yemen.

The UN and its partner emergency relief and medical teams said insecurity and lack of fuel have restricted access to and delivery of services to the increasingly vulnerable civilians.


Image: The recent bombing of Sana'a airport by Saudi Arabian jets have rendered the airport inoperable. Photo: courtesy of United Nations.