U.S. President Donald Trump took the rare step on Wednesday of publicly demanding that ally Saudi Arabia immediately allow humanitarian aid into war-ravaged Yemen, as residents in the capital Sanaa scrambled for supplies. The killing of Yemen's ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh by the country's Shiite rebels on Monday, as their alliance crumbled, has thrown the almost three-year civil war into unpredictable new chaos. The coalition has imposed a blockade on the country, with the aim of reinstating the internationally recognized government of Saleh's successor, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
On Monday, dominant Houthi fighters killed former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, his relatives and his senior aides after three days of deadly street clashes between Houthi movement and Saleh's armed loyalists in Sanaa.
On December 5, the UN Security Council warned of "the dire and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen", saying the country "stands at the brink of catastrophic famine" largely due to the blockade.
Global anti-poverty organization Oxfam praised Trump's action but called on him to do more to stop the bloodshed, including pushing for a ceasefire and ending arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition.
"The past month's escalation has killed thousands and condemned thousands more to die in the near future".
"Millions will die in a historic starvation and public health crisis if President Trump's call is not heeded." said Oxfam America official Scott Paul.
The Saudi coalition appears eager to facilitate this, with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan visiting Saleh's exiled son to offer condolences, and raising speculations that the younger Saleh could soon be sent to Yemen to try to lead what's left of the Saleh force. Bob Corker in a previously scheduled meeting about Yemen.
In Sanaa on Wednesday, residents said they were finally able to leave their houses and search for basic provisions with the city now in Houthi hands. "I said, 'Look I'm just being honest with you".
Jamie McGoldrick, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said aid workers were able to reach a number of hospitals and health posts in the capital to distribute trauma kits and equipment. "Just know that it's created tremendous concern'".