Trump demands Saudis allow aid into Yemen 'immediately'
US President Donald Trump took the rare step Wednesday of publicly demanding that ally Saudi Arabia immediately allow humanitarian aid into war-ravaged Yemen, as residents in the capital Sanaa scrambled for supplies.
Trump stopped short of calling for a pause in the US-backed, Saudi-led bombing of the country, which is enduring what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
But Trump said he had asked aides to contact the Saudi leadership "to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water, and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it."
"This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately," he said in statement.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have launched a campaign to oust Huthi rebels who control Sanaa and have links to Riyadh's arch foe, Iran.
Seven million people are believed to be on the brink of famine and a cholera outbreak has caused more than 2,000 deaths.
Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade on Yemen's ports after a Huthi missile was fired toward Riyadh airport on November 4.
The Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, has struggled to convince Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to pay more heed to the humanitarian crisis.
The conflict has seen civilians repeatedly killed by bombing and through a lack of access to food and clean water.
- Searching for provisions -
Fighting in Sanaa has spiked in recent days during a showdown between Huthi rebels and loyalists of Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Saleh was killed at the hands of Huthi rebels Monday and clashes over the past week have seen streets blockaded by warring factions and the setting up of checkpoints.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday that at least 234 people had been killed and another 400 wounded since December 1.
Saleh's death came after he bypassed his Huthi allies of three years, telling the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen he was ready to negotiate if the crippling siege were lifted.
But the move backfired and Saleh was killed as fighting raged between his forces and the Iran-backed Huthis for control of the capital -- a new front in the war.
The ICRC has appealed for "bold measures" to provide life-saving care to civilians after the "unprecedented" escalation of fighting.
In Sanaa on Wednesday, residents said they were finally able to leave their houses and search for basic provisions with the city now in Huthi hands.
Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said aid workers were able to reach a number of hospitals and health posts in the capital to distribute trauma kits and equipment.
He said residents were stocking up on supplies but that fuel shortages were a big concern for the days ahead.
The UN last month warned that Yemen faces a mass famine that will affect millions of lives unless the Saudi-led coalition ends its blockade and allows aid deliveries into the country.
"We're living in a state of fear. We have no wages, no security, no life," said a schoolteacher in Sanaa.
America has supported the coalition through weapons sales, air-to-air refueling of jets and some limited intelligence sharing.
Scott Paul, a humanitarian policy leader at Oxfam America, said Trump's call was long overdue but "hugely important."
"The past month's escalation has killed thousands and condemned thousands more to die in the near future. Millions will die in a historic famine and public health crisis if President Trump's call is not heeded," Paul said in a statement.
He also noted "the fact that US support has helped create Yemen's horrific crisis" and called on Washington to cease military assistance if parties don't agree an immediate ceasefire and a political settlement.
Solution must be acceptable to Tamils Separate State is not a reasonable request - Former Army Commander, General Gerry De Silva RWP, VSV, USP
- UN damns Lanka 14,000 minors in childcare centres Calls for urgent reforms
- Russia restricts Lanka tea over beetle scare Top-level delegation off to Moscow
- Call to criminalize marital rape Justice Ministry seeks Cabinet approval
- Jumbo killings Armed protection unit to be set up Fines, jail terms to be increased
- Crossovers loom prior to polls
- SC issues notice on Elections Chief
- Jilted SLFP shuns JO forever
- CEB TU threatens strike Gives 18th as ultimatum
- Gnanasara Thera’s request for foreign travel denied
- Chinese envoy says OBOR will take Sino-Lanka ties to new level
- Police Chief in pre-poll warning Errant officers will be dealt with strictly
- Court extends Stay Order on Gota case
- Sriyani as State Minister of PCs and LG JO crossover pledged support for MS
- Rains to prevail Landslide warning to Galle, Kalutara to be reviewed
- BJP lauds ‘Ram Setu’ findings Hits out at critics
- Two held for impersonation at exam centre
- Female Genital Mutilation Advice sought from medical experts
- Hambantota Port to China India raises security concerns
- Indian Air Force Chief at passing out parade
- Statement from the Embassy of the State of Palestine
- LG Governance first to collapse in N&E
- Asgiriya Secy criticizes Govt
- Namal’s Hello Corp case on 13 December
- Attanayake’s foreign travel request Court to consider on 4 Dec
- Drugs & alcohol abuse in NE Religious reps to address issue
- Interesting battle at Havelock Park
- Thurstan win inaugural golf tourney
- History making Pulisic US men’s footballer of the year
- Knicks down Nets despite early exit for Porzingis
- 34th Mercantile Individual Tournament 2017 McLarens shuttlers Overall Champions
- Retired Hewitt takes tilt at Aussie Open doubles
- Lamborghini World Final 2017 Malagamuwa finishes third
- Committee clears Thilaka as SL coach
- Basnayake uncontested president at SLCF
- Premier League Club Cricket Primosh scores second ton
- Vinod and Taniya win Junior golf titles
- Taveesh wins two Gold medals
- Austin Waugh, in Australia's U-19
- CH come back to win
- Smith foils England again
- Emphatic win for CR
- No Malinga in T20 squad
- ‘Singer Trophy’ Under-19 Cricket Paceman Bandara steers Kingwood
- Federer voted BBC overseas sports personality of the year
- SLC looking to re-launch showpiece T20 league
- Astron wins again at SLIM NASCO 2017
- NDB brings Santa to the doorstep
- Com Bank opens branch No. 259 in Yatiyantota
- Amãna Takaful relocates Matale Branch
- Lotus Tyres rewards sales agents
- DFCC Bank sponsors 2017 Inter-School Golf Tournament
- Huawei announces Christmas promotion
- Elephant House recognized by Interbrand
- Singer (Sri Lanka) partners with Pan Asia Bank
- Disney deal suggests the Tax bill may mean little for the economy
- Commonwealth Bank admits failures in money laundering case
- Japanese business confidence hits 11-year high
- Eurozone economy to grow at faster rate, says Central Bank
- SEC to mandate dual roles for CEOs & Chairmen
- Alumex to commence EU & Aus exports
- Fiscal Policy Act remains toothless: Governor
- Samantha Rajapaksa gives up all AMW posts
- 'Publish excuses for corporate governance non-compliance'
- Jetwing Symphony IPO oversubscribed
- Shares recover from an 8-month low
- Christmas cheer is in the air!
- So, this is Christmas!
- A Time of Gifts Winding up
- Landmine deaths soar in 2016 With record number of child victims monitors
- Unravelling Nietzsche’s ‘death of God’ mystery
- Canada’s pivot to China hits a snag
- Brexit: The UK’s four options
- When the heart calls out, on a starry night
- On eve of climate summit Macron reminds Trump of ‘responsibility to history’
- FGM/FGC Victims speak out
- Wigneswaran sowing seeds of communalism
- SLFP supports devolution of power – Lasantha Alagiyawanna
- If Bond scammers are not prosecuted…President will lose his credibility –Bandula Gunawardena
- Blessed are the peacemakers
- Disinformation campaigns and public mistrust
- Alleged human rights violations Lord Naseby defends Sri Lanka
- Neecha Dosha of planets and how it is cancelled Neechabhanga Rajayoga
- Vastu defects and bathrooms
- Are you endowed with Pancha Maha PurushaYoga?
- God Aiyanayake: Guardian Deity of Jungle and Village
- Good thoughts eliminate bad planetary influence
- The Disaster Artist: The (un)making of a movie
- Our children and our cinema
- INTERPRETING ASIAN CINEMA: CHALLENGES AHEAD
- How Sanskrit journalism is slowly hogging headlines
- ice manufacturing in South Asia
- CMSC’s season finale concert
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Silvia Senanayake Dazzles at Mrs. Asia International
- Let’s Taco Colombo
- THE WRITER’S KITCHENNETTE MULLED WINE
- Hunger gnaws at Rohingya Children in camps
- Defeating IS Russia has ‘accomplished’ task
- Saudi Princess Ameera Aidan fights sex exploitation
- Hacking into the gate
- Review: A Bad Moms Christmas Relatable holiday humour
- A must watch superhero film!