Earlier this month, the Saudi-led coalition closed access to Yemeni ports following a ballistic missile attack toward Riyadh by Houthi rebels.
"Together, we issue another urgent appeal for the coalition to permit entry of lifesaving supplies to Yemen in response to what is now the worst humanitarian crisis in the world", reads a joint statement Thursday from World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus.
But even before this blockade, Save the Children estimated that "50,000 malnourished children under the age of five [will] die from hunger or disease" in 2017. The war is being waged between the internationally recognized government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi movement backed by army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The coalition said it closed the ports and borders to stop the flow of arms from Iran to the Houthis.
In another development, Daesh claimed responsibility for a auto bombing that security sources said killed 10 people, including civilians, at a security post in the government bastion of Aden on Tuesday.
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Adding to aid workers on the ground, stocks of diphtheria vaccines will be emptied in two weeks unless aid deliveries are once again allowed in the country, United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq said. Humanitarian flights could still come in and out using a visual approach.
In this April, 13, 2017 photo, Yemeni children wait to receive food rations provided by a local charity, in Sanaa, Yemen.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote to Saudi U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi to warn him that the blockade was "already reversing the impact of humanitarian efforts", U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday.
The government-controlled port of Aden has re-opened and Sanaa airport is operating for commercial flights, however this is inadequate as "needs are so huge", he said.
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at United Nations headquarters in NY that without Sanaa airport and Hodeida and Salif seaports fully functioning and able to receive cargo, "the dire humanitarian situation will deteriorate further".
Like the capital, Sanaa, Hodeida and Salif are in rebel-held territory.