Yemen: Impact of the closure of seaports and airports on the humanitarian situation - Situation Update 1 | 11 November 2017
• The Saudi-led coalition closed Yemen’s borders on 6 November.
• Humanitarian flights in and out of Yemen have been grounded for six days in a row.
• Critical humanitarian supplies cannot be transported to Yemen
• Humanitarian workers are unable to reach Yemen, while those inside Yemen who need to be rotated out cannot leave.
• Fuel prices haves increased by 60 per cent in Sana’a and trucked water by 133 per cent.
On 6 November, the Saudi-led coalition (SLC) announced the ‘temporary’ closure of all of Yemen’s airports, seaports and land crossings stating that “the measures will be implemented while taking into consideration the continuation of the entry and exit of humanitarian supplies and crews in accordance with the Coalition’s updated procedures.” However, since the SLC’s announcement, no permits have been received for humanitarian flights to and from Yemen and for WFP’s VOS Apollo boat to Aden. A consignment of WHO medical supplies remains in Djibouti. In urban areas like Sana’a, fuel prices have sharply increased. Petrol has risen from 275 YER/liter to 335 YER/liter (an almost 22 per cent increase). Local bus fairs in Sana’a have doubled and in some cases tripled.
The UN and other humanitarian actors have all called for the borders to be re-opened and flights to be resumed, stressing that continued closure will sharply aggravate humanitarian crisis in Yemen and bring millions of people in Yemen closer to starvation and death.
Impact on food security
• WFP currently has 200,000 MT of stocks of food to assist six million people until early January. This includes 108,000 MT of cereals stored in the silos at Hudaydah and Saleef ports.
• In the coming month, WFP expects a total of 72,000 MT of mixed food commodities to arrive into Yemen, half of that through Hudaydah and Saleef. A protracted suspension or delay in the delivery of these commodities will affect six million vulnerable people who rely on assistance every month.
• Given the time it takes to deliver food from the ports to the people on the ground, WFP relies on the continuous flow of commodities into Yemen.
• The diversion of vessels from Hudaydah and Saleef ports to Aden is not a desirable option since the port of Aden lacks the absorption capacity required for both humanitarian and commercial shipments. As a result, transit time of humanitarian cargo to reach populations in need will increase by one to three weeks and additional transport costs in the range from US$30 U$70 per ton will be incurred.
• The total silo capacity of Aden port is 270,000 tons, which is not sufficient to store the monthly requirement for humanitarian and commercial supplies, ranging from 350,000 to 400,000 tons, thus potentially resulting in congestion at port and high demurrage costs.
• Transporting supplies from Aden and Jizan ports to northern governorates would entail crossing the front lines of the conflict. Transportation costs would be higher, resulting in higher commodities’ which in the end would be less affordable to the average Yemeni household.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.