Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Saudi-led coalition frees Yemen-bound fuel tanker as truce takes effect

Sana’a says the Saudi-led coalition has released a tanker carrying much-needed fuel for Yemen, allowing it to reach the blockaded port city of Hudaydah, after a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement came into force.

Essam al-Motawakkel, spokesman for the Yemeni oil corporation, said in a tweet on Sunday that the released vessel, which was loaded with mazut, arrived at the Hudaydah port, 88 days after it was seized by the Saudi-led coalition.

The official said the fuel will be used for hospital equipment, adding, “Three more tankers carrying special fuel for hospital and emergency equipment remained seized by the coalition forces” near the Saudi border region of Jizan.

He urged UN envoy Hans Grundberg to help accelerate the arrival of other vessels as well.

The truce agreement, which took effect Saturday evening, allows for fuel shipments to arrive in Hudaydah and for passenger flights to resume from the airport in the capital of Sana’a.

Rights groups have warned that many in Yemen, including thousands of children, are on the verge of losing access to life-saving healthcare as the country faces its worst fuel crisis since the start of the Saudi aggression in early 2015.

Health facilities are being forced to shut off ventilators and other life-saving equipment due to a sharp drop in fuel imports caused by a crippling Saudi-led siege of Yemen.

The fuel shortages are also hampering people’s movements and have had a ripple effect on food prices, access to water, and humanitarian aid.

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