Update on Hudaydah: Humanitarian Crisis Worsens
Following threats of an attack on major Yemeni port city Al-Hudaydah issued by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) forces, reports have emerged that the Saudi and Emirati military coalition has began their assault on Yemen’s main Red Sea port on Wednesday. The Saudi-led coalition attacked southern Hudaydah by land and from the air earlier that day. One of the intentions behind this attack was to drive Houthi rebels out of the city as they had allegedly been smuggling weapons through the port in Hudaydah throughout the ongoing war in Yemen. It has since been reported by United Nations monitors that after further investigation, there has been no evidence to support these claims. This attack on Al-Hudaydah could drastically worsen an already disastrous humanitarian crisis.
Due to the fighting in the region, humanitarian aid organizations such as the United Nations and the International Committee for the Red Cross have evacuated the majority of their staff members following the warnings issued by UAE forces. Of Yemen’s estimated 28 million people, 8 million are at risk of starvation due to a dramatic decrease in supplies entering the port. A additional 500,000 civilians in Al-Hudaydah out of approximately 600,000 are at risk of injury or death from military assault. Jolien Veldwijk, acting country director in Yemen for the aid agency Care International, echoed this by claiming that, “This attack risks more people dying, but it also risks cutting the lifeline of millions of Yemenis.”
Additionally, it has been reported that the Saudi-Emirati coalition has yet to advance in Al-Hudaydah, according to Houthi official Dayfallah al-Shami. Likewise, the United States denies any involvement in the attacks. Other reports also claim that the US has rejected requests made by the UAE for intelligence, mine sweeping, airborne intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets. According to the Emirati Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, “The liberation of the port will create a new reality and bring the Houthis to the negotiations.” Another Emirati official stated that “[They] would like this to be over quickly;” though, it is unclear how long these attacks will last.
By Emily Fowler