Yemenis in free fall one year since blockade

News and Press Release
Originally published

One year since the Saudi-led Coalition imposed a blockade on sea, land and air routes in Yemen, millions more are edging closer to famine and fatal disease. "The past 12 months have been a never-ending nightmare for Yemeni civilians. The parties to the conflict have consistently disavowed the laws of war and employed tactics that exacerbate suffering for civilian populations," said Jan Egeland,
Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

The one-year-long partial blockade has prevented import of vital food, fuel and medical supplies, creating shortages on key commodities for a population in dire need. This had led to mass inflation and propelled a crisis already widely regarded as the worst in the world.

Fuel imports through Hodeidah, Yemen's most important sea port, remain drastically low and insufficient for meeting needs. The past days have also seen fierce fighting and air strikes pick up in the vicinity of Hodeidah city threatening to further deteriorate civilians' access to safety and aid.

12 million people are left at imminent risk of descending into famine while over one million cholera suspected cases have been identified in Yemen. Over 22 million people need some form of aid or protection across the country.

"We call on parties to this brutal conflict, the UN Security Council and individual member states to take immediate steps towards a ceasefire, the full opening of all of Yemen's ports, the restoration of public services and stabilisation of the Yemeni economy in the interest of arresting an entirely man -made humanitarian catastrophe," Egeland said.


· On the 5th and 6th of November last year, the Saudi-led Coalition imposed a full blockade on Yemen's airports, seaports and land borders, purportedly as a measure to stop the importation of weapons into Yemen following interception by the Saudi military of a ballistic missile fired at Riyadh.

· Air and sea ports in areas under the control of the internationally -recognised government of Yemen (GoY) remained closed for eleven days, while critical sea ports along Yemen's west coast were shut down for a period of more than seven weeks and only partially reopened thereafter.

· 12 million people are now at imminent risk of descending into famine.

· More than 16 million people don't have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene and are extremely vulnerable to communicable disease outbreaks and factors that exacerbate the health causes of famine mortality.

· As of the 26th of October, Yemeni Riyal was set at 720.18 to one USD by Internatinal bank of Yemeni.

· World Health Organisation (WHO) reported 13,403 cholera cases as of October 2018. This is six times the number of reported cases as of mid-June (2,089), indicating the ongoing serious threat of a substantial new outbreak which has been exaccebated by displacement and economic deterioration.

Blockade Timeline - Key Events

Date_______ Event

19 Aug 2015 Hodeidah port bombed during attacks by the Saudi-led Coalition on the city of Hodeidah, destroying four cranes and damaging several warehouses.

9 Aug 2016 Sana'a International Airport is closed to commercial flights by the Saudi-led Coalition, leaving millions of Yemeni people with no safe means by which to leave the country, including an estimated seven thousand people a year who would ordinarily have travelled abroad each year for lifesaving medical treatment.

31 May 2017 The Saudi-led Coalition communicates to the UN that it has ordered the closure of Ras Isa Marine Terminal in order to protect the "marine environment" from "pollution and oil leaks".

05 Nov 2017 A full blockade on Yemen is imposed by the Saudi-led Coalition, purportedly as a measure to stop the importation of weapons into Yemen. The blockade follows interception by the Saudi military of a ballistic missile fired at Riyadh on 4 November.

16 Nov 2017 Ports in areas under the control of the internationally -recognised government of Yemen reopened, allowing resumption of cargo deliveries and humanitarian staff.

22 Nov 2017 The Saudi-led Coalition announces that ports in areas not under the control of the internationally-recognised government will be reopened for the delivery of humanitarian supplies and efforts. UNHAS flights to Sana'a are cleared by EHOC for departure on 25 November and humanitarian shipments resume to Hodeida.

20 Dec 2017 The Saudi-led Coalition releases a statement announcing, 'the continuation of opening Hudaydah port to humanitarian and relief supplies and allowing the entry of commercial ships, including fuel and food vessels, for a period of 30 days.'
Owing to the long delay, only a small number of commercial vessels access the port during this period.

19 Jan 2018 Saudi Arabia announces that it will be extending the opening of Hodeidah Port for another 30 days to enable import of commercial items until 18 February. As with the last temporary opening, this does not provide any certainty about the status of the port beyond this date and continues to drive inflation.

18 Feb 2018 The conclusion of another 30-day period suspending the blockade on Yemen's Red Sea Ports passes without any public announcement from the Saudi-led Coalition about the status of Yemen's main ports. The ports nonetheless remain but receive on 18.7% and 40% of required fuel and food respectively.

Note to editors:

· NRC has spokespeople in Yemen available for interviews.

· Photos can be downloaded for free here: -Programmes/Yemen/2018/August-2018/Yemen-photo-story-4-years-of-man-made -catastrophe/n-s2N7VX/

For more information, please contact:

· NRC media hotline,, +4790562329