1 million Yemenis at risk of cholera outbreak — Red Cross

Children rest on a bed at their family hut at a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of the Red Sea port city of Hodeida

Three United Nations agencies have issued an urgent appeal for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen to fully lift its blockade of the country.

This coalition shut down virtually all air, land as well as sea entry to Yemen a week ago following an interception of a rocket launched towards the Saudi capital, saying they needed to control the movement involving arms coming from Iran to the Houthi adversaries inside Yemen.

"The supplies, which include medicines, vaccines and food, are essential to staving off disease and starvation".

"The cost of this blockade is being measured in the number of lives that are lost", the statement from David Beasley, Anthony Lake and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

"Together, we all issued yet another critical appeal to allow entry of life saving items to Yemen in response to what's now the most severe humanitarian situation on the planet".

A week after hearing that dire warning, the UN Security Council appeared powerless on Wednesday to push the Saudi-led coalition to lift its blockade of humanitarian aid.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has demanded the re-opening of key ports for humanitarian shipments to Yemen, including the Red Sea port of Hudaydah and Sanaa airport.

Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for three days
Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip had been totally sealed since August, and was largely closed for years beforehand. All Palestinian factions are due to meet in Cairo next week to discuss ways to move reconciliation forward.

The coalition has partially eased some restrictions on ports controlled by the Yemeni government, which is Saudi Arabia's ally in the country's devastating civil war.

As of Wednesday, 29 vessels, with 300,000 tonnes of food and 192,000 tonnes of fuel, had been blocked, while United Nations ships carrying $10 million (£7.56 million) of health and nutrition supplies and 25,000 tonnes of wheat were waiting to berth at Hodeidah, according to another United Nations statement.

"Without any gasoline, the water supply sources and waste materials water-treatment plants will soon stop working. Severe acute malnutrition is threatening the lives of nearly 400,000 children".

More than 2,000 Yemenis have died in a cholera outbreak now affecting almost one million people. While the language of the resolution calls to "increase efforts to adopt all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent civilian casualties and increase humanitarian access", it does not call for an end to US support of the Saudi-led coaltion attacking Yemen.

UNICEF is helping provide clean water to 6 million Yemenis by ensuring fuel is delivered to water pumping stations in cities, he said.

"We are concerned that not enough has happened", he said.

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