Monday, September 24, 2018

Yemen - "killing an entire generation."

Yemen has only enough food to sustain its population for two to three months, CARE International has warned if Hodeidah's port is sealed off or put out of action , taking into account the World Food Programme's (WFP) stockpiles and estimated levels of commercial foods sourced from traders.

"Once the harbour is blocked we are talking about millions and millions of people who will not have food,"   CARE's Yemen Director Johan Mooij told The Independent.

“Even the smallest disruption to food, fuel and aid supplies through its vital port could mean death for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children unable to get the food they need to stay alive," said Save the Children’s Yemen Director Tamer Kirolos.

Save the Children predicted last week that soaring food and fuel prices - of as much as 45 per cent - could cause the number of Yemeni children facing starvation to rise to 5 million. The report stated that any closure at Hodeidah "risks killing an entire generation."

Hodeidah's port accounts for more than 70 per cent of all imports, offering a vital lifeline of food, fuel and medical supplies. Even before the war, 90 per cent of Yemen's food was importedCoalition troops are currently trying to regain control of the city in what could be the largest battle of Yemen’s war to date. The increased airstrikes and fighting are also causing residents to flee Hodeidah. Nearly 300,000 people have already left since 2015, halving the city's population.

Mr Mooij said: “At a time when cholera cases are sharply on the rise, many thousands have already died from disease and hunger, and the Yemeni rial has lost almost a quarter of its value, this is absolutely the last thing the Yemeni people need. There must be an immediate end to this violence in and around Hodeidah."

Malnourishment means that children are 12 times more likely to die from diseases like cholera, pneumonia and measles and can cause long-term physical and cognitive damage. Unicef calculates that more than 11 million children suffered from cholera and diphtheria in 2017, as aid workers do their utmost to prevent another predicted outbreak of cholera (HL6).

Mooij gives a tragic insight into how decreased supplies could affect the population, saying "the Yemeni tell me 'we will all die together'. Because the Yemeni have a tradition of sharing, they will accommodate people who don't have as much as they can, so once we reach the point of starvation it will be terrible.”

Mr Mooij called for countries including the UKUS and France to "reconsider their arms sales because they directly affect the well-being of the population".

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