WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday welcomed reports that four U.S.-funded cranes operated by the United Nations World Food Programme were unloading supplies in Yemen’s Houthi-controlled Hodeidah port.
The United Nations said last month the four mobile cranes had arrived at Hodeidah after a Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis agreed to let them into Yemen, where a three-year-old civil war has pushed the country to the verge of famine.
“These cranes are offloading key supplies for the people of Yemen and will allow greater throughput of critical humanitarian assistance and goods,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia and its allies face mounting criticism over the civilian toll of Yemen’s conflict, in which more than 10,000 people have been killed by U.S.-backed coalition air strikes and by fighting on the ground.
“An enduring solution to this conflict, and the desperate humanitarian situation, will not be reached militarily,” Nauert said.
She also said the United States welcomed a pledge by the Saudi-led coalition to provide $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid for Yemen.
The United Nations says that more than 22 million of Yemen’s 25 million population need humanitarian assistance, including 11.3 million who are in acute need, an increase of more than 1 million people since March 2017. Tens of thousands are struggling with cholera, diphtheria and other diseases.
(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by James Dalgleish)