Meanwhile in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, the United Nations dismissed Houthi claims that a Saudi-led air strike had destroyed the navigation station of the global airport, which is critical to receiving already limited aid shipments.
Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi reiterated at a news conference at United Nations headquarters in NY on Monday that closed seaports and airports will start reopening within the 24 hours promised late Sunday.
Yemeni officials in Sanaa, which is held by the rebels, said the airport's runway had also been damaged, claiming fix crews were already at work.
All humanitarian flights to Sanaa airport and all humanitarian and commercial vessel movements to the seaports of Hudaydah and Saleef have remained blocked since November 6, when the Saudi-led military coalition imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Yemen, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric quoted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as saying.
Two key ports for humanitarian shipments to Yemen have remained closed since November 6, bringing starvation closer to Yemenis, said the United Nations on Tuesday. "The runway, taxiway, ramp, terminal and air traffic control tower were not hit and are in good condition". The Hodeida port is held by rebels in Yemen. But, said McGoldrick, the blockade puts that progress in jeopardy.
Saudi Arabia's United Nations ambassador is denying that there has been an embargo on Yemen, saying "a temporary procedure" was taken for a few days to ensure the safety and security of Yemenis and Saudis and supplies were available. "The humanitarian impact of what is happening right now is unimaginable". The coalition closed all Yemen air, land and seaports last week in response to a rebel ballistic missile attack on Riyadh.
"The first step in this process will be taken within 24 hours and involves reopening all the ports in areas controlled by" Yemen's internationally recognized government, which the coalition backs, read the mission's statement.
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi told reporters in NY on Monday that ports in government-controlled areas such as Aden, Mukalla and Mocha will be reopened, but demanded more rigorous checks at the Red Sea port of Hodeida.
It says those ports are in Aden, Mocha and Mukalla.