Patients Blocked From Leaving Yemen Due To Permanent Airport Closure - NGO

Patients Blocked From Leaving Yemen Due to Permanent Airport Closure - NGO

Thousands of critically ill patients have not been able to access life-saving treatment outside of Yemen since 2016 due to the Saudi-imposed closure of the Sana'a airport for a fifth consecutive year, the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE said on Thursday

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 05th August, 2021) Thousands of critically ill patients have not been able to access life-saving treatment outside of Yemen since 2016 due to the Saudi-imposed closure of the Sana'a airport for a fifth consecutive year, the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE said on Thursday.

"Five years of restrictions imposed on Yemen's airspace by the Saudi-led coalition is preventing thousands of sick Yemeni civilians from seeking urgent medical treatment outside the country," the statement read.

NRC Yemen Acting Country Director, Isaac Ooko, described it as a "hostage situation that has lasted for five years," saying that thousands of Yemenis are stranded on both sides of the border and for some of them the inability to fly abroad amounts to a "death sentence."

"We urge the Saudi-led coalition, the internationally recognised Yemen government and Ansar Allah [rebel group, also known as the Houthis], to put the lives of Yemeni civilians first by agreeing to reopen the airport. They must reopen the airport for commercial flights to help us ease the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the closure," CARE Yemen Country Director Aaron Brent said.

In addition to the humanitarian cost, the five years of closure of the Sana'a airport have cost the country billions of Dollars in economic loss, according to the NGOs.

Since March 2015, the Saudi-led Arab coalition has intervened in the Yemeni war on the government's side against the Houthis. Clashes and bombings have been commonplace since then. The United Nations describes Yemen as "the world's worst humanitarian crisis," with 20.7 million people in need of protection or humanitarian assistance.