Saudi-led coalition allows first aid ship into Yemen’s Hodeidah port

This file photo taken on November 07, 2017 shows a ship moored at Yemen's rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida. (AFP)
Updated 26 November 2017
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Saudi-led coalition allows first aid ship into Yemen’s Hodeidah port

DUBAI: A ship carrying 5,500 tons of flour docked in Yemen’s Hodeidah port in the Red Sea on Sunday, the first after more than two weeks of a blockade by a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi movement, local officials said.
Saudi Arabia and its allies closed air, land and sea access to the Arabian Peninsula country on Nov. 6, to stop what it calls a flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran. The action came after Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile fired toward its capital Riyadh.
Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons.
The delivery is the first aid to arrive through Hodeidah port, controlled by the Houthis, after the coalition allowed a flight carrying humanitarian aid workers to the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Saturday.
“The ship is 106 meters long and carries 5,500 tons of flour,” one of the Yemeni officials said.
Aid agencies said the blockade had worsened the humanitarian crisis in Yemen where the war has left an estimated 7 million people facing famine and killed more than 10,000 people.
The coalition gave clearance for UN flights in and out of Sanaa from Amman on Saturday, involving the regular rotation of aid workers.
After re-opening Sanaa airport, UNICEF has also sent vaccines there.
The charity Save the Children said an estimated 20,000 Yemeni children under the age of five were joining the ranks of the severely malnourished every month, “an average of 27 children every hour.” (Writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi)


Syrian children study on the ground in abandoned villa

Displaced Syrian children attend class at a makeshift school in the village of Muhandiseen, in the south western countryside of the Aleppo province, on September 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2018
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Syrian children study on the ground in abandoned villa

  • Some sit with their knees drawn on a plastic woven carpet, their shoes neatly by its side

ALEPPO, Syria: In rebel-held northern Syria, displaced children sit or lie on the ground of an unfinished villa, bending over their notebooks to apply themselves as they write the day’s lesson.
Four teachers instruct around 100 children — girls and boys aged six to 12 — at the makeshift school in an opposition-held area in the west of the northern province of Aleppo.
Between the bare walls of the villa abandoned mid-construction, children sit or lie on sheets or plain carpets, their small backpacks cast by their side.
Dubbed “Buds of Hope,” the teaching facility has no desks, library or even working toilets.
Instead, the air wafts in from beyond the pine trees outside through the gaping windows in the cement wall.
Dressed in a bright blue T-shirt and jeans, her hair neatly tied back in a pony tail, a barefoot girl kneels over her book, carefully writing.
“This isn’t a school,” says 11-year-old Ali Abdel Jawad.
“There aren’t any classrooms, no seats, nothing. We’re sitting on the ground,” he says.
In one classroom, a gaggle of veiled young girls sit on a bench, as the teacher explains the lesson to one of their male counterparts near a rare white board.
In another, the school’s only female teacher perches on a plastic chair, as her students gather around on the floor, their backs against the wall.

Some sit with their knees drawn on a plastic woven carpet, their shoes neatly by its side.
The children — as well as their teachers — have been displaced from their homes in other parts of Syria due to the seven-year war, a teacher told an AFP photographer.
Some hail from Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus, a former rebel stronghold that fell back under regime control in April after a blistering offensive and surrender deals.
Others come from the central provinces of Hama or Homs.
A dry fountain lies in the courtyard outside the villa’s elegant facade, where girls link arms and swing around in a circle.
Schools in opposition-held areas are generally funded by aid organizations, but have in the past been hit by bombardment.
“We’re always scared of bombardment and of the situation in general,” says one of the teachers, giving his name as Mohammed.
The building lies in rebel-held territory adjacent to regime-controlled parts of Aleppo city to the east, but also the major opposition stronghold of Idlib to the west.
Some three million people live in the Idlib province and adjacent areas of the neighboring Aleppo and Latakia provinces, around half of them displaced by war in other parts of Syria.
Earlier this month, many feared a regime assault on Idlib, but last week Damascus ally Moscow and rebel backer Ankara announced a deal to temporarily halt it.