Yemen: Closing ports risks ‘catastrophic loss of life’ as 22 million people now require aid

More than 22 million Yemenis – nearly 80 per cent of the population – now require humanitarian aid and more than a third of those are at risk of famine, the UN has said.

Nearly three years of war between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and a pro-government military coalition led by Saudi Arabia has cost thousands of civilian lives, and a coalition-enforced port blockade prevented supplies from getting in last November in response to a ballistic missile launch.

The Red Sea ports of Hodeidah and Saleef have reopened in a 30-day reprieve but aid workers said they hoped authorisation would be extended beyond the current deadline of Friday.

Before the conflict, the now-Houthi-controlled Hodeidah handled about 70 per cent of Yemen‘s imports.

Closing the ports again risks “catastrophic loss of life”, according to Stephen Anderson from the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP).

Meritxell Relano, of Unicef, said getting fuel into Yemen was vital to power water and sanitation services. In addition, the country imports 85 per cent of its food and medicines.

See here: Independent