Saudi-led coalition lets UNICEF plane with vaccines through Yemen blockade

The Saudi-led coalition allowed an aircraft carrying some 1.9 million doses of vaccines to land in the Houthi rebel-controlled Yemeni capital city of Sana’a on Saturday, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said. The plane’s arrival follows the coalition’s announcement that it plans to ease the aerial and naval blockade on the country that was imposed November 6. “The vaccines will reach 600,000 children in a nationwide vaccination campaign all over Yemen,” UNICEF said in a press release. The vaccines include those against such diseases as diphtheria, whooping cough, tuberculosis, pneumonia and meningitis. The organization said that it managed to get the vaccines through at a “critical time,” as the Yemeni stocks were running completely dry. A child dies every 10 minutes of preventable diseases in the war-torn country, UNICEF added. Aid groups have welcomed the decision to let aid in but said flights are not enough to avert a humanitarian crisis in the country, where an estimated 7 million people face famine and whose survival depends on international assistance.