Update on the situation in Hodeidah, Yemen, 29 June 2018

Report
from Norwegian Refugee Council
Published on 29 Jun 2018

Quote from NRC staffer, Lolah Alkahtani, in Sana'a:

"They call Hodeidah the pride of the Red Sea, now we are afraid it will be the widow of Yemen. I am worried that this war will kill my family in Hodeidah, and that it will destroy our house which my father built after spending all his life saving for it. The word worried doesn't even describe a bit of how we feel."

Quote from NRC staffer, Saleem Al-Shamiri, in Sana'a:

"My family in Hodeidah city think any moment a bomb will explode, or clashes will reach their homes. I have felt this situation myself in 2011, and understand the fear and panic they feel now."

"While the past days have been quiet, family and friends I have spoken to tell me that people don't dare leave their houses. Only a few grocery shops are open, and many people going hungry. I sent some money to my family so they can buy food, as most people don't have anything left in their houses. I'm concerned that they won't be able to find food or clean water to survive while the offensive drags on."

Latest updates:

· The fighting in Hodeidah continues but is on a relative pause while the UN envoy is allowed further time to mediate between the parties to the conflict in an attempt to restart peace negotiations.

· The situation in the wider Hodeidah area is volatile, and fighting continues in Hodeidah's southern districts. Airstrikes have been ongoing around the city although they have slowed this week.

· People inside Hodeidah city tell NRC staff that the situation continues to be calm, with only a few clashes reported during the night. Some roads within the city are reportedly closed or partially blocked by defensive entrenchments.

· People inside the city tell NRC that most shops, especially in the southern side of the city, remain closed as shopkeepers are too scared to open them.
Electricity is still unavailable in many areas and water remains scarce. Most people do not leave their houses unless it's urgent. Many don't have adequate food in their homes and are at the brink of going hungry.

· Money exchange shops are reported to remain mostly closed. This is a serious concern in Yemen, where people have been struggling with an increasing lack of cash liquidity in the past few years of the conflict. Without access to cash, and with reportedly rising prices of basic goods, civilians who could otherwise survive may be left without food and other necessities.

· Some 43,000 people have been displaced since the offensive started on 13 June, with more people displaced every day. Such movement to safety brings its own risks, as there have been an increase in reports over the past week of civilians killed and injured by explosives as they travel. Many of those who have managed to flee to other Governorates are arriving in urgent need of food, medical care and protection for the most vulnerable.

· While some families with the means to do so are fleeing to Sana'a, Aden and other distant areas, the majority of displaced people are seeking refuge close to home within Hodeidah governorate. Some are even fleeing from the southern districts into the city.

· NRC's teams in Yemen is on standby to scale up if the situation worsens, while doing assessments to identify the most vulnerable newly displaced, and distribute emergency assistance and cash grants.

Facts:

· Some 3.3 million people live in Hodeidah governorate, and 600,000 live in Hodeidah city.

· Some 29.3 million people live in Yemen.

· About 2.7 million people need humanitarian assistance across the country.

· Some 162,000 suspected cases of cholera have been identified in Hodeidah since April 2017, equating to 15 per cent of Yemen's total cholera caseload.

Photos taken in Hodeidah since the offensive available to download: https://nrc.smugmug.com/Country-Programmes/Yemen/2018/n -t8GLjK/Hodeidah-offensive

For interviews or more information, please contact:

NRC's media hotline, info@nrc.no, +4790562329