Monday, 24 September, 2018

Aid group says Yemen port remains open - 6/14/2018 8:07:13 AM

Red Sea port of Hodeidah Yemen Red Sea port of Hodeidah Yemen
| 15 June, 2018, 12:29

On Monday, June 11, the Security Council said it supported Griffiths' diplomatic efforts but did not call on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to refrain from attacking Hodeida.

Fighting raged mainly near the city's airport and the al-Durayhmi area south of the city, media reports say.

"My family left for Sanaa yesterday but I stayed behind alone to protect our home from looters", he said.

Coalition-backed Yemeni forces took control of al-Durayhmi in southern Hodiedah province, an armed forces faction said in a statement. The city and surrounding area are home to 600,000 people, and the port is the main route for food and aid to reach most Yemenis, 8.4 million of whom are on the verge of starvation.

A United Nations diplomatic source said five commercial vessels were offloading at the port.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading a military campaign to push back the Houthis after they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and restore the internationally recognised government to power.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said any battle for Hodeidah would exacerbate the suffering of the population.

The attack on the Red Sea port aimed to drive out Iranian-aligned Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who have held Hodeida since 2015, and break the civil war's long stalemate.

Citing sources within the military, Dubai-based Al Arabiya said the battle began early Wednesday morning.


Emirati forces with Yemeni government troops moved in from the south near Hodeida's airport, while others sought to cut off Houthi supply lines to the east, the officials said.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Washington Khaled bin Salman also on Tuesday said the retaking of Hodeida was critical, tweeting that the Iran-backed rebels posed a "growing threat" to maritime security. It was unclear if that applied to assistance to the coalition that Washington provides in the form of aircraft refuelling and intelligence support. The Pentagon declined comment.

"We have enough food for now, but we don't know if we'll have more of it if the port completely shuts down", 18-year-old Safaa, who requested her real name to be withheld, told Al Jazeera. The Houthis generate $30 million to $40 million a month in revenue from the port, the UAE official estimated. Saudi-led airstrikes have killed large numbers of civilians and damaged vital infrastructure.

The UN says military action could cripple desperately needed deliveries of commercial goods and humanitarian aid to millions in the aid-dependent country. "We are there and delivering, we are not leaving Hodeidah", said Lise Grande, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.

"All member states, led by the USA, must demand that vital humanitarian and commercial imports through Hodeidah are maintained", said David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee. The United Nations in January shipped in mobile cranes to help unload ships there. Yemeni forces on Wednesday got closer to Hodeidah after taking control of the suburb of Nekheila south of the town. They r the kindest people you'll ever meet.

The Senate bill includes a national security waiver that would allow the Trump administration to continue support for the coalition without certifying that it is meeting the stringent criteria.

In the meantime, the United Nations Security Council will urgently meet on Thursday, reportedly following a request from the United Kingdom, which, alongside the U.S., is quite ironically one of Saudi Arabia's top arms suppliers and has repeatedly been accused of hypocritically profiteering from the conflict in Yemen.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi see the Houthi rise as expansionism by their Shi'ite foe, Iran.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US said the attack would relieve Yemen's humanitarian crisis and ensure security for shipping in the Red Sea. The Coalition have assured us that they are incorporating humanitarian concerns into their operational plans.

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