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Humanitarian Aid Arrives in Yemen

FILE - Children protest the Saudi-led coalition outside the U.N. offices in Sanaa, Yemen, Nov. 20, 2017.

Three flights carrying humanitarian aid and aid workers have arrived in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital.

The aid is the first allowed into the country in nearly three weeks, following a blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition that halted the flow of essential supplies into Yemen.

The leaders of the World Food Program, the World Health Organization and UNICEF warned that the cost of the blockade was “being measured in the number of lives that are lost.”

The agencies said that 7 million people were at risk of famine in Yemen and that the number could rise.

At least 1 million children are at risk of being exposed to diphtheria, if a rapidly spreading outbreak is not contained, the agencies said. They also warned of a flare-up of cholera, which has been declining since the most explosive outbreak ever recorded, in which more than 900,000 cases in the past six months.

The Saudi-led coalition closed air, land and sea access to Yemen in response to a missile attack by Iran-backed Houthi rebels near the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

The war in Yemen has claimed than 10,000 lives and displaced an estimated 3 million people. Even before the civil war began in 2015, Yemen was the most impoverished Arab country in the world.