Yemen: Humanitarian agencies warn that escalating fighting on coast could cut off vital supplies for millions

Published: 3rd February 2017

Humanitarian agencies working in Yemen today warned that escalating fighting on the west coast of the country risks cutting off vital supplies to millions of people.

Fighting in and around the port of Mokha has forced thousands of people from their homes and, according to the UN, trapped 20,000 - 30,000 people in the town. These people are in need of immediate protection and assistance.

As the fighting moves north, the agencies warn that access to the country’s main sea port of Hodheida could be blocked, further worsening the widespread humanitarian crisis.  Yemen is witnessing a prolonged conflict which has killed or injured over 46,000 people since March 2015. It has left nearly 19  million people in need of aid and forced more than three million people to flee their homes in search of safety. Some seven  million people do not know where their next meal is coming from and less than half of the country’s health facilities are fully functioning.

“With more than 2 million children suffering from acute malnutrition, it is critical that Yemen’s air and sea ports remain functional to receive food and humanitarian supplies such as essential medicine not available in country”.  Said Shoqi Maktary, the Country Director, Search for Common Ground in Yemen.  

Before the escalation of conflict in 2015, Yemen imported approximately 90 percent of its food.  Its main airport in Sana’a has been closed for commercial flights since August 2016, leaving thousands without access to medical care abroad.   

The agencies call on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians, facilitate safe passage of those trapped in conflict areas, allow humanitarian access to those in need and cease damage to vital infrastructure that helps keep people alive and to allow vital food and relief supply to reach conflict affected populations.

Notes to editors

Agencies who have signed:

  • ACF
  • ADRA
  • CARE International
  • DRC
  • Global Communities - Yemen
  • IRC
  • Islamic Relief
  • Mercy Corps
  • Oxfam
  • Pure Hands
  • Save the Children
  • Search for Common Ground – Yemen
  • World Relief Germany
  • ZOA

Contact information

For more information, please contact:

Benjamin Wiacek, Yemen Media Lead,, +216 53 547 791 (Tunis)

For updates, please follow @Oxfam or @OxfamYemen.

The public can support Oxfam's humanitarian response in Yemen.