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Ottawa, June 15 (Canadian-Media): United Nations (UN) and humanitarian partners are rushing to provide life-saving aid to thousands of vulnerable families of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida which was under attack from Saudi-led coalition forces on Thursday, media reports said.
It was feared by the humanitarian partners that destruction of The Yemeni port city of Hodeida, the main entry through which essential elements of aid could be provided, would lead to the deaths of thousands of people due to starvation and lack of medical supplies.
UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, Thursday evening, said any events leading to the closure of the port would a "disasterous impact on the ability of humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance to a population that desparately needs it."
“Starvation of civilians as a method of war is a war crime and was condemned by the Security Council in resolution 2417 of 24 May 2018" Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen said in a statement.
"It seems that the first test of this resolution is Yemen: the Yemeni port (of Hodeida) is a lifeline for the delivery of aid and the Coalition’s air strikes can kill many more people over time through famine and hunger when damaging such civilian infrastructure,” added Dieng.
But substantial aid programmes have already been by arranged humanitarian agencies and front-line partners in the city.
Every day 50,000 litres of safe drinking water are being distributed and health teams have been helping to halt the spread of cholera and other life-threatening diseases.
Cars and trucks wait in line to pass over a bridge that was hit by an airstrike in 2016. This road is one of four roads linking Hodeida (Al Hudayda) with the rest of the country. Image credit: UN OCHA/Giles Clarke
Humanitarian partners have been preparing for a possible assault for weeks, said Grande and about 63,000 metric tonnes of food, tens of thousands of emergency kits, nutrition supplies, establishment of medical teams, water and fuel had been arranged in advance.
“Dozens of UN staff are in the city helping to deliver food, water and health services,” said Grande in statement. “We estimate that 600,000 civilians are in the city – many of whom are dependent on assistance to survive.”
A request for $3 billion, through the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan, had already been made by the UN and partners to support 22.2 million people in need across Yemen.
“Under international humanitarian law, parties to the conflict are obliged to do everything possible to protect civilians and ensure they have access to the assistance they need to survive,” said Grande.
$1.5 billion, to date, half of resources necessary for the year, had been received.