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World Food Program calls for maintained food flow for Yemen's Hudaydah

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture shows an armored vehicle on fire as Saudi led forces conduct an attack on Yemeni positions in the area of al-Fazah in Yemen's Hudaydah province on June 16, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The World Food Program has called on all warring parties in Yemen's Hudaydah to maintain a free food flow through the port city.

The WFP’s director for Yemen Stephen Anderson made the call on Saturday, while voicing deep concerns over the humanitarian situation in Hudaydah.

The UN agency is appealing "to maintain the free flow of food and fuel and both commercial and humanitarian for the people who need it most," he said.

Anderson noted that basic needs of those Hudaydah's civilians are not being satisfied, while warning the worsening situation in the port will have a "major impact" on its inhabitants.  

The World Health Organization also expressed concern over the fighting in and around the, calling for unbroken aid access and protection of health workers present in Yemen.

"We stand with our U.N. partners to call on all parties to the conflict to protect the port, and allow its uninterrupted functioning. We also call on all parties to protect health workers and their facilities from harm, as well as to ensure unimpeded access for medical teams seeking to treat the wounded," said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

He added that Hudaydah "an essential lifeline" for Yemen, saying that "more than 70% of all food, essential medicines and healthcare supplies are brought in through this port."

Earlier in the day, the Le Figaro newspaper reported French special forces are present on the ground in Yemen supporting the ongoing Saudi-led military operation in Hudaydah.

The Saturday report cited two military sources but provided no further details as Saudi Arabia claimed that forces under its command had entered the airport in Hudaydah.

France, along with the United States and Britain, backs Saudi Arabia in the Yemen conflict and provides weapons to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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The Saudi-backed coalition is trying to capture the port city in its yet heaviest assault on the country in more than three years. The offensive threatens to cut the lifeline to millions of Yemeni people already struggling with an acute shortage of vital supplies.

The UN has warned that the battle in Hudaydah, which has a population of 600,000, could cost up to 250,000 lives, as well as cutting off aid and other supplies to millions of people.

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