Saudi-led Coalition to Begin Allowing Aid into Yemen

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The Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen said Wednesday that it would reopen the country's main international airport and a vital Red Sea port to humanitarian traffic.

The easing is supposed to begin Thursday.

The airport in the capital of Sanaa will reopen to U.N. aircraft, and the seaport of Hodeida will be able to receive urgent humanitarian aid, the coalition statement said.

The port of Salef is also expected to reopen, deputy U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said in New York, citing information that U.N. humanitarian and political officials had received from their Saudi counterparts.

The coalition announced the closure of Yemen's air, land and sea borders on Nov. 6, two days after a ballistic missile fired from the rebel-held territory in Yemen was intercepted over the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

The United Nations has said millions of Yemenis are in dire need of food aid and fuel for pumping clean water.

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.

A disruption of water supplies could reverse recent gains in containing the spread of cholera; there have been about 900,000 suspected cases of the disease over the past year.

Airstrikes and ground fighting have left more than 10,000 people dead and driven 3 million from their homes since the coalition intervened in the war between forces loyal to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebels.

International aid groups describe Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with millions at risk of famine.