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Worsen Food Situation in Yemen

Yemen’s lifeline port of Hodeidah has seen its operations slump by nearly half in the last two weeks, a spokesperson of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today. High levels of insecurity in the Houthi-held city have prevented shipping companies from going about their business, he said.

“Over the past two weeks, operation in Hodeidah port have decreased by 47 percent,” WFP spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel told the media at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva.

“Shipping companies appear to be reluctant to call Hodeidah port because of the high levels of insecurity in the city. As 70 percent of imports come to Hodeidah port, a decrease in food coming to this port will likely impact food stocks country wide,” Verhoosel said.

Some 20 million people out of Yemen’s population of 29 million are dependent on the commercial market to feed their families.

If this situation persists or further deteriorates it will have drastic impact on food availability and prices in the market and make it increasingly difficult for Yemeni families to afford the basic needs”, Verhoosel said.

He added that “the food today is already very expensive on the market because there is not a lot of food, because of the currency and the economic situation of the country and if less boats are arriving the price will increase even more.”

As 70 percent of imports into Yemen come in through Hodeidah, a decrease in food coming through the port would likely impact food stocks throughout the wider country.

WFP continues to call on all parties to protect the port of Hodeidah — a vital lifeline for humanitarian aid as well as for commercial deliveries into Yemen.

Verhoosel noted that “we need to reassure the private sector to say ‘come back to the port’, that everybody must say ‘yes, we will leave the private sector working, people are there to feed the people in the country, that’s not politics, that’s not military, everybody need to eat”.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived in Riyadh on Monday as part of efforts to convene December peace talks between the internationally recognized government and Houthi militia. UNTV CH

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