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Escalation of fighting around Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah threatens to cut off essential supplies to millions of people who are already one step away from famine, Oxfam warned today.
The fighting has already forced hundreds of families to flee their homes.
Oxfam's Country Director in Yemen, Muhsin Siddiquey said: "Yemen is already the world's worst humanitarian crisis and is steadily slipping towards famine. If this vital route for supplying food, fuel and medicine is blocked, the result will be more hunger, more people without health care and more families burying their loved ones.
“There has been far too much destruction, disease and death. The international community needs to put pressure on warring parties to end the fighting and return to peace negotiations.”
Hodeidah is one of the country's principal ports serving the essential needs of millions of people. Approximately 90 per cent of Yemen's food has to be imported and 70 per cent comes through the port. About 90 per cent of the country's fuel also has to be imported, half of which comes through Hodeidah and the port of Al-Salif. Hodeidah is also crucial for the imports of medicine and other essentials.
Three years since the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, 8.4 million people do not know where their next meal is coming from and are one step away from famine. More than 22 million people, close to 75 per cent of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance. Last year’s cholera outbreak was the world’s worst since records began, with over 1.1 million suspected cases and over 2,200 deaths.
The conflict has fuelled an economic crisis, including hikes in the cost of basic food items and non-payment of public sector salaries, which is pushing millions of people to the edge.