Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated  / Source: NBC News

More than 30 tons of aid landed in Yemen Friday, supplies sorely needed by the Arab world's poorest country following weeks of deadly fighting.

A Red Cross plane landing in the capital, Sanaa, delivered 18 tons of medical supplies that can treat up to 1,000 wounded, according to the ICRC. Another aircraft brought 17 tons of medicines, medical equipment, nutrients for malnourished children and water supplies organized by the United Nations agency, UNICEF.

The desperately-needed supplies arrived amid paralyzing fuel and water shortages, power outages and a blockade of food imports.

The conflict, between supporters of Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Iran-allied Houthis backed by soldiers loyal to ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, has killed at least 643 people nationwide, according to the World Health Organization. Tens of thousands more have been displaced as they flee the fighting.

"These supplies will mean the difference between life and death for those wounded in this conflict," Cedric Schweizer, who leads the ICRC team in Yemen, said in a statement. "But we're hearing disturbing reports. Health-care facilities have been damaged as a result of collateral damage.

“Ambulances are being stolen in Aden and health-care workers targeted, which is unacceptable. All those who are wounded and sick are entitled to treatment, and medical personnel must be allowed to work without fear of becoming a target themselves."

On Thursday, medics told NBC News they had been trapped in a hospital in Aden for almost three weeks because of an influx of wounded patients and because it was too dangerous to leave.

Separately, warships from a Saudi-led coalition have blocked a vessel carrying more than 47,000 tons of wheat from entering a Yemeni port, demanding United Nations guarantees that the cargo would not go to military personnel, shipping sources told Reuters Thursday.



- Alastair Jamieson

Reuters contributed to this report.