Date :Saturday, June 16th, 2018 | Time : 11:26 |ID: 64313 | Print

Humanitarian disaster in Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah, in the biggest battle of a three-year war

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SHAFAQNAThousands of troops backed by Saudi and United Arab Emirates forces began the biggest battle of the war in Yemen this week, launching an attack on the port of Hodeidah and putting the main supply route for food into the country at risk, the Times reported.

The assault began after the expiry of a deadline set by the United Arab Emirates for the Houthis, who hold the capital Sanaa, to hand over the sole port under their control, france24 reported.

With logistical support from the US, the Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out attacks inside Yemen since March 2015, killing at least 10,000 people, in an attempt to reinstate the internationally recognised government of President Abu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

According to Aljazeera The Hudaida port is crucial for the flow of food supplies into a country that is on the brink of famine.

About 90% of food, fuel and medicines consumed in Yemen is imported, with 70% of that coming through Hodeidah, according to the UN.

Last week, the UN said that in a worst-case scenario as many as 250,000 people could be killed in an offensive against Hodeidah , CNN reported.

The United Nations had been trying in the last few weeks to get the parties to reach a deal that would avert the attack, which it fears would further impede Yemenis’ access to food, fuel and medicine, exacerbating the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis in the impoverished Arab state.

Saudi Arabia and the Emirates defied appeals from the United Nations and their western allies to delay the assault pending ceasefire negotiations by a UN envoy.

Jolien Veldwijk, acting director for Care International in Yemen, told Al Jazeera that the port of Hudaida is crucial for aid agencies to be able to do their work.

” More than two-thirds of the people of Yemen count on the food that is imported through the port of Hudaida,” Veldwijk said.

” Even before the offensive on Hudaida started, already 8 million Yemenis were at risk of famine and we really expect this number to increase rapidly, even if the port is closed for one day.”

” There are other ways [to get food imports into the country] but those ports don’t have the size to handle the size of imports needed to feed the people of Yemen … They’re alot smaller and they can only maybe handle 30 percent of what is needed.”

Hours ago BBC reported that Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition say they have captured the airport of the main port city of Hudaydah from Houthi rebels. But the Houthis have not acknowledged losing the airport.

About 600,000 people live in and around Hudaida, and “as many as 250,000 people may lose everything – even their lives” in the assault, according to the UN.

Hudaida has the largest number of sick people in Yemen with more than 70 percent of its population, especially children, at risk of malnutrition.

The war in Yemen has displaced 2 million more and helped spawn a cholera epidemic.

 

Read more from Shafaqna:

Rights groups call on world powers to end Yemen’s tragedy

Reuters/Yemen’s Houthis dismantle Sanaa airport road camp, gunmen remain

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