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Hodeida attack: Aid groups urge UK government action

Hodeida is a gateway for humanitarian supplies [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 June, 2018

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Aid groups have appealed to the UK to oppose the Saudi-led coalition campaign against Hodeida port in Yemen.

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Yemen, Hodeida
Aid groups operating in Yemen are warning of catastrophic consequences of any further escalation of violence around the port city Hodeidah.

According to credible reports, a possible attack of the city looks imminent and could, according to the UN, cost up to 250,000 lives.

NGOs issued a statement on Tuesday warning of the consequences, and a group of UK NGOs have also written to the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson calling for the UK "to send a clear public statement that the UK cannot continue to support any party that attacks the port of Hodeida, and that all parties will be held accountable for any violations against civilians".

Casualties on all sides would be high with a devastating impact on the civilian population. Families and children will be at risk of entrapment, displacement, disease and worsening food insecurity, including possible famine.

According to Save the Children, an estimated 100,000 children under five are suffering from extreme hunger in Hodeida governorate alone. Should the vital port close and food imports decrease, tens of thousands of children could die.

Seventeen million people in Yemen are already food insecure, and Hodeida governorate is already at crisis point. NGOs are extremely concerned that an attack on Hodeida will prove catastrophic and could lead to food shortages on levels equivalent to famine if fighting blocks the import of goods through the port altogether.

NGOs also echoed concerns of the UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, who stated that an assault on the port could "in a single stroke, take peace off the table".
 
On Monday afternoon, an Urgent Question was tabled in the UK Parliament asking the foreign secretary for a statement on the reported imminent attack, and raising significant concerns about the humanitarian consequences.

Foreign Minister Alistair Burt repeatedly stated the UK is seeking to discourage an attack on the port and encourage a negotiated end to the conflict.

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