Red Cross says first medical aid flight lands in Yemen

Reuters , Friday 10 Apr 2015

People flee after a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, April 8, 2015. (Photo: AP)

The first two planeloads of medical aid for Yemen landed in Sanaa on Friday after weeks of conflict which have displaced 100,000 people and created a potential humanitarian catastrophe in the impoverished nation.

Planes from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, arrived in the Yemeni capital carrying more than 30 tonnes of medical aid, officials form both organisations said.

The ICRC and the United Nations have been trying for days to get aid flights into the country, where warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition have carried out air strikes against Houthi fighters battling to take over the southern port city of Aden.

The fighting has killed more than 600 people.

ICRC spokeswoman in Yemen, Marie Claire Feghali, speaking by telephone from Sanaa airport, said the Red Cross shipment included 16.4 tonnes of medicines, bandages, intravenous drips and surgical equipment.

UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac said the UN agency's plane had also landed after a week of delays. "Our plane has just landed in Sanaa from Djibouti," he said.

Aden residents say electricity and water have been cut off in several districts, rubbish has been left uncollected in the streets and hospitals have been unable to cope.

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