Saudi blockade on Yemen must be lifted 'for humanitarian reasons immediately'


"I have directed officials in my administration to call the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it", Trump said in a brief statement Wednesday.

Last month, Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade on Yemen after Houthi rebels fired a missile on the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

The UN last month warned that Yemen faces a mass starvation that will affect millions of lives unless the Saudi-led coalition ends its blockade and allows aid deliveries into the country. The United States sells weaponry and provides intelligence to the Saudis and their coalition partners. Saudi Arabia, concerned about Iran's support of the Houthis in a neighboring country, formed a coalition and intervened in support of Hadi.

The statement came as residents in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, were stocking up on goods and seeking urgent care, fearing an impending resumption of hostilities after a showdown between Huthi rebels after they killed powerbroker and ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Global anti-poverty organization Oxfam praised Trump's action but called on him to do more to stop the bloodshed, including pushing for a cease-fire and ending arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition.

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However, Mr Saleh's party has denied his death. Aid workers and locals described the two-day pounding of the city as among the most intense since the Saudi-led coalition became involved in Yemen's civil war almost three years ago. On Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council warned of "the dire and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen", saying the country "stands at the brink of catastrophic starvation". Food, medicine and fuel are scarce and too expensive for most to afford.

Seven million people are believed to be on the brink of starvation and a cholera outbreak has caused more than 2,000 deaths.

This week's fighting resulted in the disruption of emergency services in Sanaa. "We have no wages, no security, no life", said a schoolteacher in Sanaa.

His family's allies have battled the Houthis since last week, a dramatic turn in a conflict that had been largely stalemated for much of the past three years.