SHAFAQNA – An international aid group is struggling to deliver emergency supplies to Yemen, despite securing agreement for a humanitarian pause in the fighting.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has managed to get approval from the Saudi-led campaign of airstrikes, known as Decisive Storm, for a humanitarian pause to allow aid to be delivered.
However, international airlines have halted their flights over Yemen, as airstrikes on the capital Sanaa continue and fighting intensifies in the southern port city of Aden.
“We have permission from the coalition but there are fewer and fewer airlines who are either allowed or willing to fly into Yemen now,” Sitara Jabeen, an ICRC spokesperson, told Middle East Eye on Monday.
The Yemeni national airline, which the group had hoped to use for an airdrop, has suspended all flights into and out of Yemen until further notice.
The ICRC had issued an urgent call on Saturday for an “immediate humanitarian pause” in the fighting in Yemen, asking that all air, sea and land routes be opened for at least 24 hours to allow aid to be delivered to people on the ground.
However, Saudi Arabia, which is leading a campaign of airstrikes in the country, said it would allow aid in “when we are able to set conditions [so] that this aid will benefit the population”.
“We don’t want to supply the militias,” said Brigadier General Ahmed Assiri, spokesperson for the operation, on Sunday.
The ICRC hope to land two planes, one carrying supplies and the other aid workers, in Sanaa “as soon as possible”.
The Saudi-led coalition is now in control of Yemen’s airspace.
Three ICRC workers have been killed while working in Yemen in the past week.
The killings, which occurred while all three men were working wearing their ICRC uniforms, were described by the programme’s Middle East director as “a very worrying trend and a tragic loss”.
The ICRC also plans to bring in aid supplies by boat to the southern port city of Aden, where the fighting remains severe.