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Hodeidah port attack imminent in Yemen

14 June 2018, Emergencies

300,000 children under threat with Hodeidah port attack imminent.

An estimated 300,000 children stuck in Hodeidah city are at risk of being killed or maimed by fighting which is closing in on Yemen’s largest port city. Children and families 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.

Should the battle for Hodeidah unfold, it 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. We feel despair for the children of Hodeidah who didn’t ask for this war. 

Could this push Yemen into famine?

With 70% of the country’s imports coming through this important port, any closure or blockage could push the country into a full-blown famine. Yemen is highly dependent on imports, with between 80-90% of staple food imported. 

Yemen is already caught in the world’s largest hunger crisis in the world – and that’s while Hodeidah Port is still partly operating. Even a temporary closure of or disruption to Hodeidah’s port would have devastating humanitarian consequences, further exacerbating dangerous levels of need.

“We are 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,” says Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director.

1.8 million children already suffering acute malnutrition

In Yemen, some 1.8 million children are suffering from acute malnutrition. Of these children, nearly half a million children under five are severely malnourished and will die if they do not receive urgent assistance. 

A temporary complete blockade of Yemen’s ports last November prompted the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, to warn that without the reopening of Yemen’s ports the country would face “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.” 

Save the Children’s work in Hodeidah

Save the Children works in Hodeidah governorate to ensure children receive essential health services, food and education. Our teams are working in dangerous and difficult situations to help children and their families. They are helping to: 
  • Support health facilities and provide mobile health and nutrition teams across the country
  • Treat malnutrition, deliver safe drinking water and supply urgently needed food and medicine
  • Provide cash transfers for tens of thousands of families who don’t know where their next meal is coming from
  • Protect children by providing safe environments where they can learn, interact and begin to recover from trauma.

How is Save the Children responding to this threat of attack?

We are currently distributing our remaining medicines and food supplies to ensure all Save the Children-supported health facilities in the Hodeidah district have sufficient supplies to meet the increased need for the next three months. We are also planning to increase future distributions of food and medicine.

We have put our non-critical operations on hold and other programs have been minimised according to the intensity of the violence.

Header image: Save the Children
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