Saudi-led coalition airdrops supplies to Yemen's besieged Taiz

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The aid includes medicines, medical equipment and dry food

Many residents have resorted to using treacherous mountain paths to bring in goods (AFP)
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Thursday 14 January 2016 10:10 UTC
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Aircraft belonging to the Saudi-led coalition have dropped 40 tonnes of aid to Yemen's besieged Taiz region, a Saudi charity said on Wednesday.

The aid includes medicines, medical equipment and dry food "to break the siege imposed on parts of Taiz province," Abdullah al-Rabeeah, director of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, told the Saudi Press Agency.

The 600,000 residents in Taiz are in dire need of supplies as Houthi fighters lay siege to the community defended by pro-government forces.

Many residents have resorted to using treacherous mountain paths to bring in goods.

The UN said on 18 December that more than 100 trucks of food aid had arrived in Taiz.

But local aid groups and sources close to President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi said Houthi fighters seized the relief goods and distributed them in areas under their control.

"The humanitarian aid fell into the hands of the Houthis in al-Hawban area, and there is not a single organisation could get the aid to the besieged areas inside Taiz city,” Abdul Kareem Shamsan, the head of the Coalition of the Humanitarian Relief in Taiz, told MEE back in December.

"We started to see the humanitarian aid available with the traders in the black market in Taiz city, and the humanitarian aid already fell into the hands of the Houthis in al-Hawban, so this is a clear indication that the Houthis sell the aid to traders," he added.

Since March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition has conducted air and ground operations in Yemen to support local forces against the Houthis and their allies.

King Salman established the Saudi aid centre last May and the kingdom pledged a total of $540mn in aid to Yemen.

Back in October, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen dropped arms and ammunition to pro-government fighters in Taiz.

UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien has criticised the coalition's Yemen air war over its heavy civilian toll and for blocking deliveries of fuel and other commercial supplies to Yemen by restricting access to ports.

More than 5,800 people have been killed in Yemen since March, about half of them civilians, according to the UN.