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UN concerned over falling imports at Yemen’s lifeline port

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)
A picture taken on November 25, 2018, shows Yemeni fishermen selling fish along the shore in the Red Sea city of Hudaydah on November 25, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations has warned that operations at the strategic Yemeni port of Hudaydah have plunged by nearly 50 percent over the past two weeks, making it difficult for local residents to afford their basic commodities in the wake of the recent wave of violence there.

The World Food Programme warned on Tuesday that imports had fallen substantially "because of the high levels of insecurity in the city" as Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi are engaged in a fierce offensive against fighters from the Houthi Ansarullah movement to establish control over Hudaydah.

“Operations at Hodeida Port have decreased by 47 percent over the past two weeks,” WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel told reporters in the Swiss city of Geneva.

“If this situation persists or further deteriorates, it would have (a) drastic impact on food availability and prices in the markets and (would make) it increasingly difficult for Yemeni families to afford their basic needs,” he added.

A Saudi-sponsored militiaman loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi is pictured in front of the May 22 Hospital on the eastern outskirts of port city of Hudaydah, Yemen, on November 15, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The UN estimates that 70 percent of all imports into Yemen come through the port of Hudaydah, which lies on the Red Sea.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing the country’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.

According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

A number of Western countries, the US and Britain in particular, are also accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.

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