Wed Jul 19, 2017 05:41PM
A Russian security guard stands near an Il-76 cargo plane carrying humanitarian aid in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, November 5, 2015. (Photo by AFP)
A Russian security guard stands near an Il-76 cargo plane carrying humanitarian aid in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, November 5, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

Russia says it is sending a new humanitarian aid flight to Yemen, where people have been dealing with famine and an outbreak of cholera following a months-long Saudi-led war.

"The Russian Emergencies Ministry has started loading the Il-76 aircraft with more than 23 tons of humanitarian supplies to be delivered to Yemen," the ministry told Russia’s TASS news agency on Wednesday.

Carrying tents and other necessities for the people of the war-torn country, the cargo plane was slated to arrive in Yemen later in the day.

On its way back, the plane would board Russian and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) citizens willing to leave the war zone and take them back to Moscow, the report noted.

This will be the second Russian aid flight to Yemen since Tuesday. The first flight delivered 20 tons of humanitarian supplies after landing in Sana’a International Airport and returned with 62 Russian and CIS citizens on board.

Saudi air blockade

The capital Sana’a is currently controlled by Houthi Ansarullah fighters, who have been defending the nation against a deadly offensive by Saudi Arabia and its allies since March 2015.

On Tuesday, Saudis blocked a United Nations charter flight carrying aid agency staff from landing in Sana’a, on the grounds that it could not guarantee the security of three journalists working for British state-run broadcaster BBC on board.

Later on, Saudi officials claimed that all inbound flights to Yemen must land in the country’s southern port city of Aden, which is under the control of the former government, headed by former President Abd Rabuuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

A Yemeni child suspected of being infected with cholera is checked by a doctor at a makeshift hospital operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the northern district of Abs in Yemen's Hajjah province, on July 16, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Houthis took control of state affairs in 2014 after Hadi resigned, despite Ansarullah’s calls on him to review the decision. Hadi’s resignation created more chaos in a country already grappling with al-Qaeda terror threats.

The brutal Saudi aggression, that was launched to reinstate Hadi, has so far killed more than 12,000 people, most of them civilians.

The conflict has also left more than 17 million people in the country food-insecure, with some 6.8 million of them in need of immediate aid.

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The conflict-stricken country has also been grappling with a cholera outbreak, which has so far killed more than 1,700 people according to the UN. The number of suspected cholera cases across Yemen has surpassed 320,000.

The US and the UK have been the main purveyors of weapons, training and intelligence to Saudis during the course of the unprovoked war.