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Hundreds of aid trucks 'seized by Houthis' in Yemen Open in fullscreen

Paola Tamma

Hundreds of aid trucks 'seized by Houthis' in Yemen

Workers download bags of UN food relief in Aden, 2015 [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 April, 2017

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A UN convoy was blocked at a Houthi checkpoint on the outskirts of the besieged city of Taiz this week by rebels who reportedly seized the cargo.
Two hundred trucks containing humanitarian and medical aids for 12 districts in Yemen's besieged city of Taiz were reportedly seized by Houthi forces earlier this week.

They were part of a UN aid convoy that recently left the port of Hodeida and included rare dialysis drugs for Taiz's al-Thawra Hospital.

Yemeni Minister of Local Administration and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Relief Abdul-Raqib Saif Fateh urged the UN to condemn the act and pressure the Houthis to release the aid immediately.

Local NGOs also called for the UN to use other safe routes like via the port of Aden.

Taiz lays on the main road between the capital Sanaa, which has been under the control of Houthis since September 2014, and the southern city port of Aden - home to the internationally-recognised government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Due to its strategic position, it has been one of the most active theatres of conflict in Yemen between the Houthi rebels allied with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and forces loyal to President Hadi.

Since March 2015, the medical NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres [Doctors Without Borders] has treated over 10,700 patients for war injuries in Taiz.

Houthi rebels have reportedly blocked aid convoys aimed at territories that they do not control.

At the same time aid-carrying vessels are being denied entry to the port of Hodeida by a de facto naval blockade by the Saudi-led coalition.

Citizens in Hodeida have received flyers asking them to side with the government and against the Houthis, supposedly to prepare the grounds for an operation led by the United Arab Emirates to retake the port city.

The Houthis are in control of the Hodeida, which provides them with a stream of income by taxing imports.

It is also one of the few active ports in Yemen, although operating at reduced capacity after its cranes and warehouses were bombed in 2015.

With more than eight in ten Yemenis relying on imports for food, medicines and fuel, an attack on Hodeida would almost certainly precipitate the already terrible humanitarian situation.

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