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Oxfam warns possible attack on Yemen's Hodeidah port will push country into near certain famine

Posted by Lisa Rutherford UK Regional Media Manager

31st Mar 2017

Reacting to concern that Hodeidah port in Yemen is about to be attacked by the Saudi-led coalition, international aid agency Oxfam warns that this is likely to be the final straw that pushes the country into near certain famine. Yemen is dependent on imports for almost all of its food, fuel and medical supplies. Aid agencies rely almost entirely on Hodeidah to get humanitarian aid in to the country and even a temporary closure would be catastrophic for a population already brought to the brink of starvation by the ongoing conflict and de-facto blockade. 

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB Chief Executive said:

"If this attack goes ahead, a country that is already on the brink of famine will be starved further as yet another food route is destroyed. The entire population of Yemen is suffering, with seven million people already facing famine.

"An estimated 70 percent of Yemen's food comes into Hodeidah port. If it is attacked, this will be a deliberate act that will disrupt vital supplies - the Saudi-led coalition will not only breach International Humanitarian Law, they will be complicit in near certain famine. Yemen's main food importers have told us they don't know how they would deliver food if Yemen's Red Sea ports are lost.

"People are being starved to death. The international community has to urgently act to prevent this attack. We urge the Foreign Secretary to pressure all parties to the conflict to resume peace talks, to reach a negotiated peace agreement and improve the economic situation in the country."

ENDS

For more information, please contact Lisa Rutherford on 07917 791 836/ lrutherford@oxfam.org.uk

Notes to editors

- A blockade has been imposed on Yemen, preventing good coming in the country. While this has been partially eased, new restrictions on shipping and the destruction of many port facilities, such as the cranes of Al-Hudaydah port in August 2015 are punishing the Yemeni population and the country's food supplies are running critically low. Fighting on Yemen's west coast escalated last month, especially around Al-Hudaydah and Mocha ports, which risks cutting off vital supplies to millions of people

- The UK Government has approved arms export licences for £3.3bn worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia in the past two years. It has also provided military experts to advise the Saudi Arabian armed forces

- Airstrikes and fighting have killed more than 7,600 people, including over 4,600 civilians, forced over 3 million people from their homes and left 18.8 million people - 70 percent of the population - in need of humanitarian assistance, the greatest number in any country in the world

- Oxfam has reached more than a million people in eight governorates of Yemen with water and sanitation services, cash assistance, food aid since July 2015


Blog post written by Lisa Rutherford

UK Regional Media Manager

More by Lisa Rutherford

Lisa Rutherford