Only seven out of the initial group of 30 authorized patients were allowed on the flight
Yemen’s first ‘mercy flight’ departs from Sana’a airport to Jordan
The first medical flight carrying Yemenis to hospitals abroad departed Houthi-controlled Sana’a International Airport for Jordan’s capital, Amman, on Monday, carrying seven patients, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.
More patients were supposed to be transferred, but only seven are allowed on a weekly basis, an anonymous official at the airport in Sana’a told Anadolu.
The medical air bridge flights offer a glimmer of hope to some of Yemen’s long-suffering patients who have been unable to travel by road to other airports in the country to fly to specialized medical centers in places like Amman.
The Saudi-led coalition had suspended flights from Sana’a since 2016.
“The medical air bridge flights come as part of the United Nations’ ongoing humanitarian assistance in Yemen including providing support to the healthcare system,” according to a joint statement by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and the World Health Organization.
“The remaining of the first group of 30 patients will travel in a second flight while more patients will follow on subsequent flights,“ the statement read.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Yemen told the Houthi-run state news agency Saba that the medical flights from Sana’a were too late for thousands of Yemenis who had died waiting to travel abroad for treatment.
The "Saudi-led coalition sentenced Yemenis to death when it surrounded the northern part of the country and closed the airport in Sana’a for more than three years," Mohammed Abdi, director of the NRC in Yemen, told Saba.
Griffiths, who arrived in Sana’a on Sunday for the reopening of the airport in Sana’a, left Monday.