Responding to questions from the press, Andrej Mahecic, for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), read the following statement:
“On 24 October, at least 21 civilians were killed and 10 injured when strikes hit a vegetable packaging facility in Al-Masoudi in Bayt Al-Faqih District. In a separate incident on the same day, three more people were killed and six injured when strikes hit three vehicles on 7 Yuliyu road in Al Hali District in Hodeidah Governorate. Lisa Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, stressed that ‘civilians are paying a shocking price because of this conflict. This is the third time this month that fighting has caused mass casualties in Hodeidah.’”
Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, read the following statement on behalf of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
“It essential to keep all ports open and operational in Yemen without interruption so that adequate quantities of food, fuel and other supplies can reach the country. This is critical to efforts to prevent famine. Yemen depends on imports for 90 per cent of staple food and nearly all fuel and medicine. Hodeidah and Saleef ports remain open and operational. As of the morning of 26 October, five ships were unloading cargo at these ports, and 10 more are cleared to approach the ports. Although the ports have remained open and operational, existing and potential restrictions on imports have dampened commercial confidence, resulting in fewer vessels serving these ports overall. Should humanitarian and commercial imports through Hodeidah and Saleef ports stop or drastically decline for a prolonged period, famine would become likely in parts of Yemen.
Hervé Verhoosel, for the World Food Programme (WFP), said that there were also three WFP ships on their way. The port of Oman was being used as a secondary port. In addition, WFP had 52,000 tonnes of grains stored in silos near Hodeidah, but the security situation was such that the silos remained inaccessible. If the parties to the conflict made it possible to access the silos, the food could be used to feed two million people for one month. WFP appealed to all the parties to the conflict to allow humanitarian workers to carry out their activities to help civilians as a neutral party.
Responding to questions from a journalist, Ms. Vellucci said the Security Council had, on many occasions, urged the parties to find a political solution to the conflict. The Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, was endeavouring to support that process. In the meantime, the United Nations appealed to the same parties to allow humanitarians to carry out their activities freely. In that connection, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, had recently briefed the Security Council on humanitarian issues in Yemen.