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US Urges Renewed Food and Humanitarian Aid Deliveries for Yemen

FILE - People gather to collect food rations at a food distribution center in Sana'a, Yemen, March 21, 2017.

The United States is urging the complete return of food and humanitarian aid deliveries to Yemen including construction of new cranes to unload ships at the port of Hudaydah.

Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade on Yemeni ports last month after Houthi rebels fired a suspected Iranian-made missile near the Riyadh airport.

The blockade is preventing aid from getting to those who are in desperate need, including fuel needed to run generators to power hospitals and water treatment plants.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said no humanitarian or commercial shipments have reached Hudaydah since late November.

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and U.S. Agency for International Development chief Mark Green met last week with U.N. and other relief officials on the situation in Yemen.

Sullivan said a political solution is the only away to achieve long-term stability in Yemen.

Green said the United States is "ready to respond to this humanitarian catastrophe" with the Trump administration announcing another $130 million in emergency food aid to Yemen.

The Saudis say they have sent large amounts of aid to Yemen, but not to areas controlled by the Houthis. They have accused the rebels of stealing and selling the food and medicine.

The Iranian-backed Houthis seized the Yemeni capital of Sana'a in 2014, driving the internationally-recognized government into exile to Saudi Arabia. It has since returned and set up shop in the southern port city of Aden.

Saudi-led airstrikes aimed at pushing the Houthis out of Sana'a and northern Yemen have killed thousands of civilians and obliterated entire neighborhoods.

The fighting comes on top of a cholera epidemic in Yemen and the threat of famine.