The key now is get aid into the country, and that means reopening the ports that have been damaged in the fighting—particularly Hudaydah (19 Dec 2016)
The port of Hodeida was not ‘damaged in the fighting’. It was deliberately put and kept out of action by the UK’s ally.
- 2 August 2015: Saudi coalition announces the closure of Hodeida port, a key entry point for imported goods (pre-crisis, it handled fully 60 percent of commercial consignments and 70 percent of food imports) and aid – this, at a time when 80 percent of the population was estimated by the UN to require humanitarian assistance.
- 11-12 August 2015: Saudi coalition bombs the main bridge connecting Hodeida to Sana. They initially fail to destroy the bridge, and so return the following day to finish the job. An estimated 90 percent of UN World Food Program food transports to Sana travelled across that bridge. The bridge was reportedly on a ‘no strike list’ of ‘critical infrastructure’ compiled and provided to the coalition by the US Government.
- 17-18 August 2015: Saudi coalition bombs Hodeida port ‘in clear contravention of international humanitarian law‘.
Port officials say that, since the August 2015 strikes, coalition jets bombed the port nine more times. The port’s cranes are still out of action. The country is, according to Fallon himself, ‘on the brink of famine’, indeed, ‘probably beyond that now’.