HotSpots H2O, June 18: Yemen’s Water Supply Jeopardized Again in Battle for Hodeidah

The Rundown

The Saudi-led Arab alliance is attempting to seize Yemen’s main port city, Hodeidah. The city is controlled by Iran-backed Houthi rebels and is home to more than half a million Yemenis. It is also a major entry point for humanitarian aid. The siege of Hodeidah is the biggest battle so far in Yemen’s brutal proxy war.

Aid agencies warn that the fighting could halt humanitarian and commercial imports through the port, causing the price of staples such as food, fuel, and medicine to skyrocket. A severe fuel shortage would compound Yemen’s water crisis.

“We didn’t have any food, or drink or anything, not even water.” —Aly Omar, a resident of Hodeidah’s Manzar neighborhood, talking about being trapped in the besieged city. Omar’s son was wounded last week amid the fighting. As the battle rages on, thousands of children risk injury as well.  

By The Numbers

70 percent Proportion of Yemen’s imports that enter the country through the Red Sea ports of Hodeidah and Saleef.

600,000 Estimated number of people living in Yemen’s densely-populated Hodeidah city.

300,000 Children trapped in Hodeidah with decreased access to water, food, and medicine.  

8.4 million Yemenis that are on the verge of famine.

22 million Yemenis who rely on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs.

250,000 Possible casualties in a “worst-case scenario” battle for the city, according to UN estimates.

On The Radar

If fighting destroys or closes Hodeidah’s port, the Famine Early Warning System Networks (FEWSNET) predicts that Yemen will experience widespread famine. FEWSNET warns of the potential for illness and disease due to fuel shortages, which would greatly limit household ability to pump clean water.

Resources and Further Reading

Arab alliance close to capturing Hodeidah airport, Yemen military says (Reuters)
‘Catastrophic’ risk of death for 300,000 Yemeni children trapped by attack (Reuters)
Yemen Food Security Alert: June 15, 2018 (Relief Web)
Yemen war: Why the battle for Hudaydah matters (BBC)

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