Hundreds of thousands of civilians are terrified by fighting in Hodeidah
The Al Hudaydah port is a major lifeline for Yemen, bringing in food and humanitarian assistance. (Photo: Giles Clarke/OCHA)
Sana’a, 13 September 2018 - “Hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance in Hodeidah,” said Ms. Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “The situation has deteriorated dramatically in the past few days. Families are absolutely terrified by the bombardment, shelling and airstrikes.”
“People are struggling to survive,” said Ms. Grande. “More than 25 percent of children are malnourished; 900,000 people in the governorate are desperate for food and 90,000 pregnant women are at enormous risk. Families need everything--food, cash, health care, water, sanitation, emergency supplies, specialized support and many need shelter. It’s heart-breaking to see so many people who need so much.”
Hodeidah is a life-line for millions of people who depend on assistance. Close to 70 percent of all humanitarian assistance and nearly all commercial food stocks for northern Yemen enter through the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef, just to the north of Hodeidah.
“The mills in Hodeidah feed millions of people. We’re particularly worried about the Red Sea mill, which currently has 45,000 metric tonnes of food inside, enough to feed 3.5 million people for a month. If the mills are damaged or disrupted, the human cost will be incalculable,” said Ms. Grande. “So much has already been destroyed. In the last six weeks alone, houses, farms, livestock, businesses, roads, a water facility and a flour mill have all been hit.”
Since mid-June, when the fighting started, humanitarian partners have provided emergency assistance to 366,000 people in Hodeidah Governorate; 116,000 people have received cash grants and 152,000 have benefitted from emergency supplies and shelter. During four days of tranquility in early August, humanitarians vaccinated 380,000 people against cholera. This past month, partners distributed food assistance to 700,000 people across the governorate.
“The human cost and the humanitarian impact of this conflict is unjustifiable,” said Ms. Grande. “Parties to the conflict are obliged to do absolutely everything possible to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and ensure people have access to the aid they are entitled to and need to survive,” said Ms. Grande.
Yemen is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Twenty-two million people, 75 per cent of the population, require some form of humanitarian assistance and protection, including 8.4 million who do not know where their next meal will come from.
The UN and partners are requesting USD 3 billion through the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan to support millions of people in need across the country. To date, USD 1.92 billion, 65 per cent of the resources required, has been received.