US President Donald Trump took the rare step 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.
Trump stopped short of calling for a pause in the US-backed, Saudi-led bombing of the country, which is enduring what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
But Trump said he had asked aides to contact the Saudi leadership "to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water, and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it."
"This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately," he said in statement.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have launched a campaign to oust Huthi rebels who control Sanaa and have links to Riyadh's arch foe, Iran.
Seven million people are believed to be on the brink of famine and a cholera outbreak has caused more than 2,000 deaths.
Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade on Yemen's ports after a Huthi missile was fired toward Riyadh airport on November 4.
Fighting in Sanaa has spiked in recent days during a showdown between Huthi rebels and loyalists of Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Saleh was killed at the hands of Huthi rebels Monday and clashes over the past week have seen streets blockaded by warring factions and the setting up of checkpoints.
Saleh's death came after he bypassed his Huthi allies of three years, telling the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen he was ready to negotiate if the crippling siege were lifted.