War Effects on the Vital Lifeline for Millions of Starving Yemenis
The Yemeni port of Hodeidah is a vital lifeline for millions of starving civilians.Yemen’s key port city of Hodeidah, the lifeline for more than 20 million Yemenis, plays a crucial role in food, fuel and medicine imports into the country.
Humanitarian agencies working in Yemen are deeply worried about by the likely impact of an assault. As many as 600,000 civilians currently live in and around Hodeidah, which lies on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, the United Nations said.
“A military attack or siege on Hodeidah will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.”
In a prolonged worst case, we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything — even their lives.
The United Nations says Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and 22.2 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid, and 8.4 million are at risk of starvation, a number that will rise to 18 million this year if conditions do not improve.
Around 80 percent of Yemen’s food and medicine is imported through the Port of Hodeidah. Jens Laerke is Spokesman for the U.N. Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs or OCHA. He said fuel and other essential humanitarian relief also arrive via the port.
“OCHA warns that sustained hostilities in Hodeidah city, interruptions to the port operations, which are critical for vital imports of food and fuel or a siege of the city would be catastrophic. There is no contingency plan that can effectively protect civilians from the humanitarian consequences if the conflict escalates further. The response capacity of international organizations on the ground would quickly be overwhelmed,” he said.
To further complicate matters, the World Health Organization warns the country may be on the brink of another major cholera epidemic. WHO emergency response chief, Peter Salama told VOA essential medications needed to fight this fatal disease are imported through the Port of Hodeidah. “If the port at Hodeidah is destroyed, that could create an absolutely catastrophic situation,” Mr Guterres told France Inter radio during a trip to Paris.
Yemen is already facing a “disastrous” humanitarian situation, Mr Guterres said, adding: “The hostilities must stop.
This war has made three-quarters of the population in need of humanitarian assistance and pushed the country to the brink of famine, while the United Nations has considered the crisis facing the Arab country as the worst in the world.
The Yemeni warring parties have not come to an agreement concerning the possible reopening of the airport in Sanaa, with the dispute on whether it should be open for international, domestic, or both flights still ongoing, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said.
During their UN-mediated talks held in Sweden last month, the parties agreed to reopen the airport, officially closed in August 2016, for domestic flights.
The Saudi-led coalition’s mercenary forces continued their violations of the cease-fire agreement regarding Yemen’s Hodeidah.