Saudi-led coalition pledges to ease crippling Yemen blockade

SANAA, Yemen — The Saudi-led military coalition fighting Shi’ite rebels in Yemen said Wednesday that it will reopen the war-torn country’s main airport and a vital Red Sea port to some humanitarian aid shipments, easing a blockade imposed after rebels fired a missile toward the Saudi capital earlier this month.

The easing is to begin on Thursday. The airport in the capital of Sanaa would reopen to UN aircraft and the sea port of Hodeida would be able to receive urgent humanitarian aid, the coalition statement said.

It was not immediately clear, however, if port operations will return to the pre-blockade level.


‘‘It is good news, but we are still waiting to see the specific details,’’ Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian chief for Yemen, said.

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Millions in Yemen are at immediate risk if food aid and the supply of fuel for pumping clean water are interrupted, he said.

About 7 million people in Yemen — out of a population of 27 million — depend entirely on food aid, and 4 million rely on aid groups for clean water.

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