Tamer Kirolos, Yemen Country Director, Save the Children, says:
An estimated 300,000 children stuck in Hodeidah city are risk of being killed or maimed by the fighting. Families and children could be caught in the crossfire, unable to leave but in grave danger from bombs and bullets if they stay, trapped beyond the reach of humanitarian aid or medical care.
Save the Children is now extremely concerned that the port in Hodeidah will be closed and despite repeated warnings of the devastating impact this will have, a famine is becoming a real possibility, with hundreds of thousands of lives at risk.
The battle for Hodeidah will almost certainly result in a huge loss of civilian life and damage to vital infrastructure. Save the Children has consistently called for a diplomatic rather than military solution to this brutal conflict, now in its fourth year, and we feel despair for the children of Hodeidah who didn’t ask for this war. Time and again, the world has failed the children of Yemen, despite international efforts discouraging the warring parties from escalating a military confrontation.
Save the Children is urgently calling on the warring parties to:
- Respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and take all feasible precautions to protect children and their families and civilian infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, from the impact of hostilities.
- Ensure that any civilians who choose to flee can safely escape active areas of conflict.
- Ensure humanitarian access to civilians, and refrain from depriving civilians of basic necessities such as food, water and medical supplies.
- Keep Hodeidah’s port open and undamaged to allow vital food and medicines in.
- Commit to investigate any potential breaches of international humanitarian law that may occur, including the targeting of civilians and attacks on schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure.
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