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Islamic Relief UK urges action to prevent possible attack on Yemen’s Hodeida port

Islamic Relief UK is calling on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint and avoid military conflict in the port of Hodeida, Yemen.

Our team in Yemen are monitoring with concern the escalating military activity around the port. They are working with UN agencies and other NGOs to prepare for the worst case scenario of a full evacuation of the port.

Salem Jaffer Baobaid, Islamic Relief’s deputy country manager for Yemen said:

The situation in Yemen is already devastating and catastrophic. An attack on the port of Hodeida would have dire, immediate humanitarian consequences. People are already literally dying of starvation. The port is the lifeline to much-needed supplies of food and other life-saving resources and any attack would jeopardise the ability of this country to feed itself. We should make no mistake, if the port is out of action, Yemeni citizens will die. Islamic Relief is doing what we can to deliver emergency food, nutrition for babies and clean water and sanitation, but what we really need is peace and greater humanitarian access.

“We are calling on all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and work with the UN special envoy to prioritise a peaceful resolution. More than this, there must be no greater priority than protecting civilian life – both in terms of avoiding causalities and recognising the need to keep vital supply chains open.”

Alongside the parties to the conflict, the international community has a key role to play in averting military action. We have today joined with 11 other major organisations in writing to the British Foreign Secretary, calling for him to redouble the UK’s efforts to ensure that the port city of Hodeida is not attacked.We’ve also joined with a larger group of NGOs to communicate with one voice what an attack would mean for the people of Yemen:

Join INGO statement on situation in Yemen

INGOs in Yemen warn of possible catastrophic consequences of any further escalation of violence around the port city Hodeidah. According to credible reports, a possible attack of the city has never been as imminent as this time, given developments on the ground over recent weeks.

If an attack does take place, casualties on all sides will be high with a likely catastrophic impact on the civilian population. Large parts of the Yemeni population will be at risk of entrapment, displacement, disease and worsening food insecurity, including possible famine. Food imports have already reached the lowest levels since the conflict started and the price of basic commodities has risen by a third. Seventeen million people in Yemen are already food insecure, and Hodeida governorate is already classified as being in crisis.[1] People’s coping mechanisms are nearly exhausted. We are gravely concerned that in the absence of commercial imports in case of an attack on the port for any length of time, parts of the population could experience food insecurity levels equivalent to famine.

We share the concerns of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande that “as many as 250,000 people may lose everything— even their lives,” if there is a military attack on Hodeida port.

In order to prevent high numbers of civilian casualties, mass displacement, possible famine-like conditions, as well as the breakdown of current efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to set up new peace talks, we urge all parties to the conflict to refrain from any further military activities in and around Hodeidah city and the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef, which provide a lifeline to around two thirds of the Yemeni population.

We call on all parties to the conflict to immediately cease violence, keep the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef open and fully functional, and uphold their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to protect the civilian population from the worst impacts of the violence.



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