Saudi Arabia told by UK minister to stop blocking Yemen aid

Saudi Arabia told by UK minister to stop blocking Yemen aid
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:53:52

Saudi Arabia has “no excuse” for blocking aid to Yemen, the international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said as she warned that “using starvation as a weapon” was a breach of humanitarian law.

(thegurdian) -- The UK is set to provide an emergency £50m aid package to help feed millions of Yemeni people caught in what she called “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”.

On a visit to Djibouti and Saudi Arabia, Mordaunt promised food vouchers for 3.4 million Yemenis for one month, 106,000 tonnes of grain, and fuel to keep hospitals running and pump clean water.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthis has imposed restrictions in an effort to prevent supplies reaching their enemies.

Speaking in Djibouti, from where UK aid is shipped to Yemen, Mordaunt said: “The harrowing stories I have heard from Yemenis and aid workers today are a powerful reminder of the human tragedy of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis where three quarters of the population are in desperate need.

“Every day, parents are carrying their malnourished children to hospital because they haven’t eaten in days, and families are watching as loved ones die needlessly from treatable illnesses because they do not have access to medical care.

On the Saudi leg of her trip, Mordaunt met high-level political figures and made clear that the commercial and humanitarian supplies – on which Yemen depends to meet 90% of basic needs – must be resumed and that immediate access must be granted to avert a catastrophic famine.

In Saudi Arabia last month, Theresa May reiterated the need to ensure full access across Yemen, as well as renewing calls for all sides to find a peaceful solution and emphasising the importance of full humanitarian and commercial access through the port of Hodeida.

(Photo:  Penny Mordaunt says she has heard ‘harrowing stories’ from Yemenis and aid workers. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA)

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