Yemen: Hodeidah offensive places millions at risk

With the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen launching a major offensive on the rebel-held port of Hodeidah, aid groups are warning of a humanitarian disaster on a scale far outstripping that already seen. Yemen is already considered the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 10.4 million people at risk of famine. Hodeidah is the entry point for 70% of the aid upon which over 22 million Yemenis depend. "The attack on Hodeidah places millions more people at risk of starvation and could violate UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 2140 and 2216, regarding obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian assistance.,"  said a statement from the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned that a sustained battle or siege of Hodeidah could lead to the deaths of as many as 250,000 civilians.

Doctors Without Borders said in a statement June 11 that one of its cholera treatment clinics was hit by a Saudi-led coalition air strike. The clinic was based one kilometer from the MSF-backed Abd Rural Hospital, which serves a population of more than one million people. The air strike "by the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition (SELC) shows complete disrespect for medical facilities and patients. Whether intentional or a result of negligence, it is totally unacceptable. The compound was clearly marked as a health facility and its coordinates were shared with the SELC," João Martins, MSF head of mission in Yemen, said in a statement.

The Saudi-led coalition continues to accuse the Houthis of smuggling weapons via the Hudaydah port, despite the coalition continually monitoring the Bab al-Mandeb strait leading to the port. (Middle East Monitor, ReliefWeb)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the US House of Representatives is circulating a letter calling for Defense Secretary James Mattis to help prevent the potentially "catastrophic" military operation. "We urge you to use all available means to avert a catastrophic military assault on Yemen’s major port city of Hodeida by the Saudi-led coalition, and to present Congress with immediate clarification regarding the full scope of U.S. military involvement in that conflict," said a draft of the letter. "In light of your April 2017 remarks that the war must be resolved 'politically as soon as possible,' we urge you to use all tools at your disposal to dissuade the Saudi-led coalition from moving forward with this offensive and reject the provision of US logistical, military and diplomatic support for any such operation."

The letter is being circulated for signatures by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Justin Amash (R-MI), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Ted Lieu (D-CA). (The Hill)

Map via University of Texas

  1. Yemen: conditions ‘deteriorating dramatically’ in Hodeidah

    Lise Grande, head UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said Sept. 13 that the "situation has deteriorated dramatically in the past few days," and “hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance," in the port city of Hodeidah.

    Hodeidah is Yemen's principal port on the Red Sea and the chief entry point for food imports. Since the Yemeni civil war began in 2015 it has been a Houthi stronghold, but the Saudi-led coalition is now approaching the city. More than eight million people in the area are said to face starvation. UN Special Envoy to Yemen Mark Griffiths has requested more supplies for the country to avoid a famine. (Jurist)