Update on the situation in Hodeida, Yemen, 14 June 2018
On-the-record update from the Norwegian Refugee Council on the situation in Hodeida, 14 June:
· Since the Saudi-led Coalition offensive on Hodeidah started yesterday, people in the governorate have reported heavy airstrikes along coastal areas and roads in districts south of Hodeidah city.
· No direct attacks have been reported within Hodeidah city itself, despite the overhead presence of fighter jets since yesterday morning.
· NRC programs in Hodeidah and Hajjah are severely disrupted by fighting of the kind we are seeing now, but NRC has not evacuated any staff from Hodeidah or elsewhere in the country. Our teams remain on standby to move to people in need with food, clean water and support with shelter as soon as the situation allows them to do so safely.
· NRC staff in Hodeida report that the sound of shelling is getting closer.
People are staying inside their homes and reporting increasing anxiety about their safety as fighting gets nearer.
· Humanitarian partners have prepositioned hygiene, health and shelter supplies to respond to emergency needs for up to 75,000 households across Hodeidah if access is made possible.
· Nearly 15 per cent of all suspected cholera cases since the initial outbreak in April 2017, have occurred in Hodeidah governorate, foretelling very high risk of a second outbreak if water supplies are disrupted or cut off completely.
· Hodeidah port represents a lifeline for the vast majority of Yemenis. Yemen is almost totally reliant on imported food, medicine and fuel. Up to 80 percent of imports have historically reached the country through the Red Sea ports of Hodeida, Yemen's main port. An attack on such critical infrastructure would have devastating impact on the survival of a population already pushed to their limits.
· As of the afternoon of the 13June, there were four vessels filled with food and fuel at berth in Hodeidah port, and five vessels at anchorage, down from seven vessels and fifteen vessels respectively at the same time last month. In their daily update, UNVIM reported that both Hodeidah and Saleef ports are "fully operational", contradicting media reports that the ports have been declared as a "zone of active military conflict" and commercial vessels prevented from entering.
The Norwegian Refugee Council's Acting Country Director in Yemen, Christopher Mzembe said:"The attacks we have feared and warned against are no longer impending, but underway. As airstrikes intensify and frontlines move closer to Hodeidah city, so does the very real threat of harm to civilians in Hodeidah. We urge parties to this conflict to recognise the very grave consequences of warfare played out in a densely-populated city and return to political negotiations geared at ending this conflict without causing more destruction."
"We are encouraged to see that Hodeidah Port remains operational and call on all parties to the conflict to ensure this continues. Yemeni people cannot afford more disruptions to the supply of food, fuel and medicine they need to survive."
· 29.3 million individuals live in Yemen
· 3.32 million individuals live in Hodeidah governorate
· 104,292 individuals are displaced in Hodeidah
· 70,000 individuals have been displaced from Hodeidah since 1stDecember, 2017
· 162,540 individuals or nearly 15 per cent of the population are suspected to have cholera
· 2.7 million individuals are in need of humanitarian assistance
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