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Yemen fighting damages vital food supplies in Hodeida

The war has pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine. [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 January, 2019

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Heavy fighting broke out this week between government-allied troops and Houthi rebels in and around Yemen's contested port city of Hodeida.

The United Nations' food agency is demanding access to its wheat stocks after fighting in the port city of Hodeida endangered its silos, setting two on fire.

The Red Sea mills located in eastern Hodeida appeared to have been hit by mortar fire, a UN statement said.

"This is the first time we are seeing conditions like this. We need this wheat," said Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.

Stephen Anderson, World Food Program country director, said access is needed to transport what's left.

The mills are housing 51,000 metric tons of wheat, almost a quarter of the World Food Program's stock of wheat.

Since fighting intensified in September and warring parties cut a main intersection outside Hodeida, WFP has had no access to the mills.

Heavy fighting broke out this week between government-allied troops and Houthi rebels in and around Yemen's contested port city of Hodeida.

The fighting was the biggest breach yet of a fragile ceasefire in the city reached in UN-sponsored talks in Sweden last month.

The Yemen conflict has killed at least 10,000 people since a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the beleaguered government in March 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

Human rights groups say the real death toll could be five times as high.

The war has pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine in what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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