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Catastrophic consequences for civilians if Hodeidah is attacked


London, June 11, 2018: 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 the attached statement today, 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 Hodeidah governorate alone. Should the vital port close and food imports decrease, tens of thousands of children could die.

17 million people in Yemen are already food insecure, and Hodeidah governorate is already at crisis levels. NGOs are extremely concerned that an attack on Hodeidah 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”.

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

Spokespeople available in Yemen and the UK.


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