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Yemen rebels seize 34 aid ships, says Saudi coalition

Yemen is in the depths of a humanitarian crisis with millions of children malnourished [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 10 November, 2016

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Houthi rebels have been blamed for blocking boats carrying urgent humanitarian supplies while millions of Yemenis starve

Desperately needed aid supplies bound for war-ravaged Yemen have been blocked by Houthi rebels, the Saudi-led coalition has said.

A total of 34 boats carrying urgent food and medical supplies to the country in the grip of starvation were denied access to the port of Hodeida, Major General Ahmen Assiri said.

The Iran backed rebels had reportedly intercepted and seized boats over the last six months.

"Today there are no more United Nations humanitarian personnel in Hodeida... who can inspect and supervise the distribution of aid and medical supplies," Assiri said in a statement.

He said the rebels had blocked humanitarian aid arriving at the port "in the last 186 days".

Yemen has been rocked by war for 19 months since the Houthi rebels and their allies overran the capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, prompting the Arab coalition to intervene in support of the internationally-recognised government.

This week, the death toll of the conflict surpassed 7,000, according to the World Health Organisation.

Nearly 37,000 have been wounded in the violence since March 2015, and the UN says millions are in need of food aid.

Another 21 million people urgently need health services, according to the UN health agency.

Contaminated water has also led to an outbreak of cholera in Sanaa and Taiz, Yemen's third largest city.

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