Today’s airstrikes on the Red Sea port of Hodeida have put the lives of millions of Yemeni civilians at risk.
According to Reuters, warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition hit the Houthi-controlled port, destroying cranes and warehouses, and cutting off the main gateway for commercial trade and humanitarian supplies to the north and centre of the country.
For the 14 million people in the region already in desperate need of assistance, today’s events will be a hammer blow.
A staggering 80% of the entire Yemeni population is already in need of humanitarian relief and the country is on the brink of famine. We’re on the ground, doing whatever it takes to help children and their families, and calling on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and avoid targeting the vital infrastructure needed for humanitarian assistance.
But with conflict escalating, the country is teetering near the brink.
A vital outpost
Hodeida provides the vital infrastructure for the entry of emergency aid cargo including food and medical supplies, as well as commercial goods and fuel.
The damage to the port will make it harder for humanitarian agencies who are trying to quickly scale up the response and move urgently-needed supplies around the country.
Edward Santiago, Save the Children’s Country Director for Yemen, says: “Fighting, critical fuel shortages and restrictions on importing relief supplies have already helped to create one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises in Yemen in the space of just a few months.
“The bombing of Hodeida port is the final straw. We need to get supplies into the country, including fuel to keep hospitals running and to get convoys of humanitarian aid to those most in need.
“The impact of these latest airstrikes will be felt most strongly by innocent children and families.
Time of the essence
“We don’t yet know the full extent of the damage at Hodeida but we can’t lose a day,” he continues. “Time is running out for Yemen’s children who are already at risk of starvation, disease, and abuse.
“In addition to the 398 children who have been killed since the conflict began in March, there are currently 5.9 million children going hungry, 624,000 children displaced by the conflict, and 7.3 million not getting the healthcare they desperately need.”
The crisis isn’t yet making the headlines in the UK, but if we don’t act now, a catastrophe could be on the cards.