The United Nations has warned that a military attack or siege by pro-Yemeni government forces supported by a Saudi-led coalition on the port city of Hudaida will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.
Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said on Friday that humanitarian agencies “fear, in a prolonged worst case, that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything – even their lives”.
As many as 600,000 civilians are currently living in and around the rebel-held city, a vital lifeline through which most of Yemen’s population gets food and medicine, according to estimates by the UN and its partners.
The UN warned that the likely “catastrophic humanitarian impact” would be worsened due to Hudaida’s key role as the point of entry for some 70 percent of Yemen’s imports.
“Cutting off imports through Hudaida for any length of time will put Yemen’s population at extreme, unjustifiable risk,” Grande said.
Saudi Arabia, together with several other Arab nations, launched a military campaign in 2015 in support of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, aiming to roll back advances made by Houthi rebels after they overran much of the country in 2014.
Most countries have since withdrawn their forces from the US-backed coalition, with only Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates conducting attacks in Yemen.