Aid group says Yemen port remains open - 6/14/2018 8:07:13 AM

Battle for Yemen's biggest port under way

Hodeidah port was evacuated earlier this week due to an imminent attack launched by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

"These efforts included the recent contribution of $1.5 billion to United Nations relief efforts in Yemen, the largest in United Nations history, as well as initiatives to enhance the capacity of ports throughout Yemen, including facilitating the entry of cranes into Hodeidah".

The worldwide aid group warned of a "high risk of a second outbreak" should water supplies be disrupted.

Responding to the early stages of the attack-which began with an estimated 30 Saudi airstrikes within half an hour, guided by USA military intelligence-Win Without War wrote on Twitter that the attack is "a dark moment of shame for the United States".

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The initial battle plan appeared to involve a pincer movement. Some 2,000 troops who crossed the Red Sea from an Emirati naval base in the African nation of Eritrea were awaiting orders to move in from the west after Yemeni government forces seize Hodeida's port, Yemeni security officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorised to brief journalists.

Emergency crews struggled to save sailors on the ship as it was sinking, and Strategic Sentinel reports that "several fatalities" resulted from the clash between the UAE ship and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

Yemen's government said on Tuesday that negotiations had failed to force the rebels from Hodeida, and that a grace period for UN-led peace efforts was over.

Hodeidah is a city of around 600,000 people, and the lone port city under the control of the Shi'ite Houthi rebels.

The port remained open, however.

"Our destiny and that of Yemen will continue to be one, and our shared pain and bloodshed will draw us closer", the UAE strongman told Hadi, Yemen's state news agency Saba reported.

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Aid groups nevertheless warned of disaster.

"The offensive against Hodeida risks triggering catastrophic consequences for all of Yemen", Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The population has already been weakened to extreme levels", he said. The International Committee of the Red Cross said last week it had pulled 71 foreign staff out of Yemen.

On Monday, June 11, the Security Council said it supported Griffiths' diplomatic efforts but did not call on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to refrain from attacking Hodeida.

Houthi leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi criticised the coalition's allies. The Red Sea port is the only port under rebel control and the coalition says Houthis are using it to smuggle weapons.

MORE than 30 air strikes hit the Yemeni port of Hodeidah within 30 minutes on Wednesday morning, in an offensive that "risks cutting the lifeline for millions of Yemenis", the agency CARE International reported on Wednesday. On Friday, the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, warned that an attack meant that 250,000 people "may lose everything - even their lives".

United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi said there was a danger of a more immediate crisis if Yemenis began to abandon their homes in large numbers. The sound of intense and continuous shots could be heard clearly in the background. We are concerned about missiles and shells. "Hudaydah's residents are some of the poorest people in Yemen, and many of them haven't gotten paid in 20 months", Kurd said Wednesday via the WhatsApp messaging service.

The new United Nations envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, tweeted that he was "extremely concerned" by the violence, calling on all parties to exercise restraint.

Two Saudi and UAE aid ships were in the waters off Hudaida, coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told Saudi state media.

"If the port closed, even for a day, then the number of people at risk of starvation will increase because no food will come into the country", she said by phone from the capital Sanaa.

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