Tom Miles / Reuters & CODEPINK – 2018-06-11 18:55:41
UN Says Assault on Yemeni Port
Could Cost 250,000 Civilian Lives
Tom Miles / Reuters
GENEVA ((June 8, 2018) — A long-anticipated assault on Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah by the Saudi-led coalition could cost up to 250,000 lives, a senior United Nations humanitarian official said on Friday.
A coalition spokesman said on Tuesday that allied forces were 20 km (12 miles) from Houthi-held Hodeidah, but he did not specify whether there were plans for an assault to seize the port, the chief entry point for food and supplies needed to ease a famine and cholera epidemic.
Humanitarian agencies working in Yemen are deeply worried about by the likely impact of an assault. As many as 600,000 civilians currently live in and around Hodeidah, which lies on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, the United Nations said.
“A military attack or siege on Hodeidah will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians,” the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country, Lise Grande, said in a statement.
“In a prolonged worst case, we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything — even their lives.”
Coalition officials could not immediately be reached for further comment.
Senior aid officials have urged the United States and other Western powers providing arms and intelligence to the coalition to push the mostly Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab allies to reconvene UN talks with the Iran-allied Houthi movement to avoid a bloodbath and end the three-year-old war.
The United Nations says Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and 22.2 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid, and 8.4 million are at risk of starvation, a number that will rise to 18 million this year if conditions do not improve.
Yemeni political sources have said the UN Yemen mediator, Martin Griffiths, is in talks with the Houthis to hand over control of the port to the United Nations in an attempt to avert a possible assault.
The broader UN peace plan calls on the Houthi movement to give up its ballistic missiles in return for an end to the bombing campaign against it by the Saudi-led coalition and a transitional governance agreement, according to a draft document and sources.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday it had pulled 71 international staff out of Yemen because of security incidents and threats, moving them to Djibouti.
Additional reporting by Sarah Dadouch.
ACTION ALERT: New Assault on Yemen About To Be Carried Out
(June 11. 2018) — This morning in Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a cholera treatment center. They have also just announced an imminent major military assault on the port of Hodeida. Aid groups like the United Nations have been given three days to leave the area. But there is no safety available for the 250,000 people who could die if this military operation is launched.
Representatives Pocan, Amash, Khanna, Lee, Jones, and Lieu have penned an urgent “Dear Colleague” letter to be sent to Secretary Mattis on Wednesday. It asks him to do all that he can to avert this new catastrophic attack on Hodeida port. It also requests immediate clarification as to the full extent of US participation in the war on Yemen.
The port of Hodeida is where 80 percent of Yemen’s food enters the country. Bombing of the port has already made the situation so severe that every ten minutes another child dies in Yemen from malnutrition. A new attack will exacerbate this, putting millions at risk of starving to death.
As a Washington Post editorial warned, “The world’s worst humanitarian crisis could get even worse.”
It is urgent that we stop the impending attack on Hodeida and quit supplying the Saudis with the arms being used to devastate Yemen. Tell your Representative to sign on to the congressional letter to avert a catastrophic attack on Hodeida and demand clarification on US participation in the war.
Holding the people of Yemen in our hearts,
Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Rita, Sarah, and Tighe
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