(NEW YORK) December 20, 2017 — The international humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger announced that it has been forced to temporarily suspend its activities in the Hodeïda district of Yemen because of the escalating civil conflict. The organization calls on all parties to the conflict to immediately cease hostilities, uphold international humanitarian law, and guarantee that civilian populations have full, unimpeded access to humanitarian aid.
The front line of the conflict has now advanced to the southern districts of Hodeïda, and is now 60 kilometers north of the city of Mocha. More than 500,000 people in the region could be affected by fighting, and there are few, if any, functioning health facilities or other basic services remaining, leaving families unable to meet their daily survival needs.
“Action Against Hunger provides vital humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations in five districts of Hodeïda. In two of these districts, Hays and At Tuhayat, six health centers were still functioning, but people are now completely unable to reach them because of the fighting," said Action Against Hunger Country Director for Yemen, Federico Soranzo. "In two of those health centers, we were supporting stabilization centers that were providing lifesaving emergency treatment to severely malnourished children under the age of five—these are children at risk of death from starvation.”
The port of Hodeïda is one of the country’s main gateways for shipments and imports of vital humanitarian relief supplies, food, and other commercial goods into the country. The current blockade of Yemen’s ports has caused dangerous shortages of fuel and has led to an almost 600 percent increase in prices for basic daily necessities such as food, fuel, and water.
"Yemen could run out of fuel before the end of the year, while we are seeing stocks for daily essentials dwindle by the day. In Hodeïda, there has been no electricity for a year: the few health facilities that are still functioning have been forced to use fuel-powered generators to keep the lights on and ensure that basic equipment is running. If the fuel shortage becomes more severe, the consequences for Yemen’s population will be horrific and unimaginable," said Federico.
Action Against Hunger calls upon all parties to the conflict to:
- cease all hostilities in the inhabited areas of the Hodeïda region and throughout the country;
- respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to ensure the full protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure;
- guarantee full, unimpeded humanitarian access to populations in need and facilitate the movement of humanitarian workers in the region of Hodeida;
- immediately lift all restrictions on the importation of vital commercial goods into Yemen.
Action Against Hunger has a team of 260 staff in Yemen and has been working continuously in the country since 2012. The organization is responding to the urgent humanitarian needs of populations in the governorates of Hajjah, Hodeida, Abyan, Lahj and Aden.
In Hodeida alone, Action Against Hunger’s humanitarian programs reached 200,000 people in 2017. The organization is prioritizing the delivery of lifesaving healthcare and emergency nutrition services to children under the age of five as well as pregnant women and nursing mothers; food assistance and programs to support livelihoods; and interventions to prevent and treat cholera and improve people’s access to clean water and sanitation.