UN warns of displacement in Yemen's Hodeida

UN warns of displacement in Yemen's Hodeida amid escalating violence
3 min read
29 January, 2021
Over 700 people have been displaced since mid January, according to UN figures.
Yemen's six-year war has left tens of thousands dead and displaced millions [Getty]
The United Nations has warned on Thursday that escalating violence in the Hodeida governorate in western Yemen has led to the displacement of at least 700 people since mid-January.

"Concern is increasing for civilians in the southern areas of Hodeida Governorate, after the escalation of clashes since mid-January, including bombing of residential areas, which puts thousands of civilians at risk," said Auke Lootsma, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen.

"Initial reports indicate that civilian casualties have already occurred, that homes and farms have been damaged in the districts of Hays and Ad-Durayhimi, and more than a hundred families have been displaced - that is, at least 700 people."

The UN official stressed that "these indiscriminate attacks on residential areas violate international humanitarian law...they must stop immediately".

"The parties must remember that it is their duty to take all necessary measures to protect civilians at all times and to allow humanitarian workers to respond to the wounded and displaced," he said.

"Up to eight civilian casualties have been reported throughout Hodeida in a week since January 20, while dozens of homes and farms have been damaged," Lootsma added.

"The number of civilian casualties in the Hodeida Governorate is a constant source of concern. In the last three months of 2020, 153 civilian casualties (killed and wounded) were reported in Hodeidah, the highest number recorded in any governorate nationwide."

The parties must remember that it is their duty to take all necessary measures to protect civilians at all times and to allow humanitarian workers to respond to the wounded and displaced," he said.

A coalition military source said on Thursday that its forces managed to down a Houthi drone while it was flying in the eastern sky Al-Durayhimi district.

Yemen's Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, launched an offensive on the Houthi-held Hodeida governorate in June 2018.

At the time, aid organisations warned the violence could plunge Yemen into a deeper humanitarian crisis, as most of the country’s imports come through Hodeidah’s port.

Violence between the Hadi government and Houthi forces have raged on in Marib and al-Dhale throughout January.

Read also: US Secretary of State to review Houthi 'terrorist group' designation

The UN on Wednesday warned that economic profiteering was worsening Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.

It said the Houthis and the Hadi government "appear to be indifferent" to the devastating impact fighting is having on the people, with both parties continuing to divert the country's scant economic and financial resources towards their war efforts.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Washington is taking a "very urgent and very close look" at the Trump administration’s designation of the Houthis as a foreign terrorist group.

Humanitarian organisations warned the designation could adversely impact aid deliveries into Yemen.

Yemen's six-year war has left tens of thousands dead and displaced millions, with more than 80 percent of the 29 million people depending on aid to survive.

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