U.N. warns against slowing recent increase in aid flow to Yemen

U.N. aid chief Stephen O'Brien warned countries not to reverse the recent increase in emergency aid for Yemen

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The United Nations’ aid chief Stephen O'Brien on Thursday warned countries not to take any steps that would reverse the recent increase in emergency aid for Yemen moving through ports in the conflict-torn country.

“In recent months, there has been a significant increase of fuel and other life-saving imports through Yemeni ports, and it is critical that every effort be made by all member states concerned to encourage, and not hinder, that trend,” O’Brien told the 15-nation U.N. Security Council.

“It is imperative that imports to Yemen and trading within Yemen be allowed to continue,” he said. “I call on all parties to ensure protection of civilian infrastructure, including shipping ports and associated equipment."

O’Brien told the U.N. Security Council earlier this month that a U.N. verification and inspection mechanism for shipments had been launched in a bid to boost commercial imports.

However, in his address the council on Thursday, O’Brien suggested it was not up and running yet. He said plans to get the inspection mechanism, known as UNVIM, “will be finalized this week, allowing the full commencement of UNVIM operations.”

O’Brien said more than 2,000 children have been killed or injured in the war.

The United Nations said on Thursday that a World Food Programme ship carrying humanitarian aid offloaded its cargo in Yemen after it was diverted to Saudi Arabia last month because it was carrying communications equipment.

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