The UN’s first humanitarian flight in three years from the Yemeni capital Sanaa evacuated seven critically ill patients and their relatives on Monday.
“The Health Organisation is particularly proud and honoured for today, it is the first flight of hopefully.. many more to come,” said Altaf Mestani, the World Health Organisation representative in Yemen.
He added, “We are working on bringing bigger planes to move more people but it’s important to put into perspective that these patients represent thousands more who need help, those patients also represent patients who cannot get help in Yemen.”
According to Mutahar Al Darwish, the Chairman of the Medical Air Bridge Committee, the initiative is far from satisfactory. “There is general discontent, because considering the current situation if we use this mechanism, which they put in place today, we cannot provide the treatment or save our patients by sending them [abroad] in 1,000 years. Seven patients every day means nothing,” said Al Darwish.
Sanaa International Airport in the Yemeni capital held by Houthis has been under blockade by the Saudi-led coalition since 2015. The UN has described the crisis in Yemen as the world’s ‘worst humanitarian disaster.’