Action Against Hunger is urging for the complete reopening of Hodeïda Port. This is urgent for facilitating crucial imports of commercial and humanitarian relief supplies to ease the suffering of the population. Three years of conflict has left the country depleted. As we witness that no real diplomatic solution to the conflict emerges, the humanitarian situation is getting worse and people are dying in total indifference.
The fighting, collapse of the economy and basic services, as well as the commercial blockage enforced by the coalition headed by Saudi Arabia in a country who was already 90% dependent on imports before the war, has led to more than 8.4 million people on the verge of starvation.
According to a recent study by FEWS NET1, this famine risk is strongly linked to the blockade of the Hodeïda Port; a main gateway for imports. Whether the blockade is lifted or not, some regions are at risk of starving. The prices of essential goods have rocketed and despite partial reopening, they are still well above the levels before the conflict began. The price of one kilo of rice has gone up on average 130% between January 2015 and January 2018, while a litre of fuel costs between 53% and 141% being more expensive depending on the region2. The first ones to be affected are the displaced communities in the region who not only have lost their homes fleeing from the war but have lost their livelihoods and purchasing power to buy these goods.
Lapo Somigli, Director of Action Against Hunger in Yemen, explains: “By drastically limiting commercial and humanitarian relief imports through Hodeïda Port the coalition continues to suppress the North of the country controlled by Houthis, but it is the civilians who are paying the price. What Yemen really needs is the unconditional opening of the ports in the North including Hodeïda so that staple foods, fuel, and medical supplies can quickly reach some of the 20 million people who depend on this port.”
Today, out of a total population of 29 million people, 22 million need assistance. That is 3 inhabitants out of 4. Officially, nearly 10,000 lives have been lost in the war. Thousands of others who died are not included in this statistic. Lapo Somigli adds: “Now, the bombs are no longer the only killers. The illnesses, the lack of access to food and care, the exorbitant prices being charged are also killing. The indirect victims of this war are innumerable. It is estimated that one child dies every 10 minutes from direct or indirect consequences of the war. People are exhausted, hundreds of thousands do not know where their next meal is coming from, if their children can be cared for, or if their wages are going to be paid. This must stop.”
For three years, the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, other pro-governmental forces or the Houthis have been violating with total impunity the rights of civilians to be protected from war without being held to account for their actions. The great Western powers such as France, the United States or the United Kingdom have become accomplices by supporting this coalition, in supplying weapons and in refusing to fully commit to resolving diplomatically this conflict. Action contre la Faim calls for a stronger, more open stance from all sides of the conflict. After 3 years of being at war, it is time that the plight of the Yemenites comes to an end.