More than 121,000 Yemenis have fled the port city Hudaydah amid an ongoing military operation by the Saudi-led coalition, according to the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) latest report.
Since 1 June, more than 17,350 households – over 121,000 people – have been displaced according to the United Nations. Of them, some 10,000 displaced households – nearly 80,000 people – have been supported with “food, emergency kits, and other life-saving support,” the report noted.
A brief pause by the Saudi-led coalition provided some respite for the Yemenis, as Martin Griffiths, UN envoy to Yemen, led negotiations with the Iranian-aligned Houthis over control of Hudaydah port. But air strikes continued from 4 June, pounding the Hudaydah-Sanaa road and Hudaydah airport according to Al Jazeera.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains. More than 15,000 Yemenis have been killed according to the UN and millions continue to suffer in what it has declared as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
The coalition continues to accuse the Houthis of using Hudaydah to smuggle weapons from Iran despite its warships monitoring the Bab El Mandeb Strait. There has been no evidence to suggest that the Houthis are receiving arms via the port.
Hudaydah is Yemen’s most strategic port and serves as much as 80 per cent of aid for Yemenis in addition to its positioning as a vital maritime shipping port.
Approximately 250,000 Yemenis will be affected by the attack on Hudaydah, according to the UN. Yemeni civilians have resorted to taking shelter in schools to avoid being targeted by the largest offensive yet launched by the coalition in their country.