Yemen: Port of Hudaydah Reopens to Receive 1st Aid Ship

The first aid ship has reached the Yemeni Port of Hudaydah as Saudi Arabia-led Coalition allowed for the Red Sea port to reopen on November 22 in order to receive urgent humanitarian relief.

The port was closed at the beginning of November after a rebel-fired ballistic missile, which targeted Riyadh, was intercepted on November 4 by Saudi Arabian military forces.

The Port of Aden was excluded from the temporary closure of all sea, air and land ports in Yemen, as the port falls under the direct management of the Yemeni government and direct control of the Saudi-led Coalition.

On the other hand, the closure applies to ports under the control of Houthi rebels, namely the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef.

“The intercepted ballistic missile fired from Yemen into the Kingdom on November 4 was smuggled into Yemen through the Port of Hudaydah, which is controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi Militia,” the Coalition’s spokesperson, Col. Turki Al Maliki said.

Since November 4, there have been 82 permits issued to facilitate entry and aid distribution into Yemen: 40 permits through sea ports and 42 permits through airports, the spokesperson added.

As informed, this includes issuing clearance for a ship named Rina on November 22, carrying 5,500 metric tons of food supplies, to the Port of Hudaydah.

Additionally, there have been 5 clearances issued to aircraft bound to Sanaa Airport; including the November 22 clearance for an International Committee Red Cross plane.

Al Maliki once again called for the United Nations to take control of the Port of Hudaydah from the Iranian-backed Houthi Militia who are delaying aid dissemination, and “using the port of Hudaydah to smuggle arms into Yemen in violation of Security Council Resolution 2216.”

The easing of blockage came after repeated calls from the World Food Program, UNICEF and World Health Organization for lifting of humanitarian blockade to the war stricken country.

While the Saudi-led military coalition has partially lifted the recent blockade of Yemen, closure of much of the country’s air, sea and land ports is making an already catastrophic situation far worse. The space and access we need to deliver humanitarian assistance is being choked off, threatening the lives of millions of vulnerable children and families,” a joint statement from WFP Executive Director David Beasley, UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, and WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, read.

“More than 20 million people, including over 11 million children, are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. At least 14.8 million are without basic healthcare and an outbreak of cholera has resulted in more than 900,000 suspected cases.”

“Even with a partial lifting of the blockade, the World Food Programme estimates that an additional 3.2 million people will be pushed into hunger. If left untreated, 150,000 malnourished children could die within the coming months.” 

“We are already seeing the humanitarian consequences of the blockade. Diphtheria is spreading fast with 120 clinically diagnosed cases and 14 deaths – mostly children – in the last weeks.  We have vaccines and medicines in transit to Yemen, but they are blocked from entry. At least one million children are now at risk of contracting the disease.” 

“All of the country’s ports – including those in areas held by the opposition – should be reopened without delay.  This is the only way that UN-chartered ships can deliver the vital humanitarian cargo that the population needs to survive. Flights from the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service – into and out of Yemen – should be given immediate clearance to resume. UN staff who are based in Yemen have been unable to move, even if they need urgent medical attention.” 

After the arrival of the first ship into the port, Yemen Red Sea Ports Corporation said that one ship is not nearly enough to respond to the humanitarian needs of the population, urging that all restrictions on commercial vessels be lifted in order to allow for the movement of humanitarian aid to the Red Sea ports.

World Maritime News Staff