Saudi-led coalition drops aid to Yemen’s besieged Taez

Riyadh: Aircraft of the Saudi-led coalition have dropped 40 tonnes of aid to Yemen’s besieged Taez region, a Saudi charity has said.

The aid included medicines, medical equipment and dry food “to break the siege imposed on parts of Taez province,” Abdullah al-Rabeeah, director of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, told the Saudi Press Agency yesterday.

The 600,000 residents of the southwestern city of Taez have been in dire need as Huthi rebels besiege the community defended by pro-government forces.

Many residents have taken to treacherous mountain paths to bring in goods.

The United Nations said on December 18 that more than 100 trucks of food aid had arrived in Taez.

But local aid groups and sources close to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi said rebels seized the relief goods and distributed them in areas under their control.

The Saudi-led coalition has since March conducted air and ground operations in Yemen to support local forces against the rebels and their allies.

King Salman established the Saudi aid centre last May and the kingdom pledged a total of USD 540 million in aid to Yemen.

UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien has previously criticised the coalition’s Yemen air war over its heavy civilian toll and for blocking deliveries of fuel and other commercial supplies to Yemen by restricting access to ports.

More than 5,800 people have been killed in Yemen since March, about half of them civilians, according to the UN.