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The Red Sea situation means Yemen may face another food crisis before Ramadan

The Red Sea situation means Yemen may face another food crisis before Ramadan

Written by Diana Alghoul (MA – War Studies and Comms and PR Manager at Muslim Aid)

In December, the situation in Yemen’s Hudaydah (Hodeida) port, adjacent to the Red Sea, escalated as the Houthi rebels launched attacks on ships in what they said was a response to Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza. This has led to increased sanctions on Yemen, and western coalition attacks on the Hudaydah port.

Hudaydah is the fourth largest city in Yemen (after Sana’a, Aden and Taiz) and the Hudaydah port handled up to 80 percent of aid entering Yemen even before the country descended into war in 2015. It was taken over by the Houthis, who largely control the import and distribution aid.

Because of its proximity to the Red Sea, in peacetime, Hudaydah was known for its thriving costal community. The fishing industry employed more than half a million people and was the country’s second biggest export after oil and gas. Thousands of boats were in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to capture fish and seafood. Hudaydah’s fishing culture died during the Yemen war, with the port being a strategic target for all parties involved.

With the militarisation of Hudaydah, Yemen has lost one of its most important nutritional lifelines, and the current round of conflict means the Yemeni people are more than ever likely to suffer from food insecurity.

Agricultural opportunities in Yemen are often limited, with Yemen importing 90 percent of its food even before the war began (42 percent being from Ukraine); Yemenis are dependent on the outside world for food.

According to the World Food Programme, over half of Yemen’s population are at crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity, including 2.2 million malnourished children and 1.3 million pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

Essentially, with Yemen’s natural food terrain, increasing prices and decreasing security, more people than ever are at risk of starvation and malnutrition. Not only does this put a strain on Yemen’s already suffering food market, but is overwhelming medical services that are struggling to deal with cases of malnutrition.

Muslim Aid is on the ground in Yemen and has delivered food aid, medical aid, hygiene projects, winter projects and education projects.

Last Ramadan, your donations supported 6,143 Yemenis throughout the month through our flagship Feed The Fasting campaign. This year, the people of Yemen need us more than ever, so they don’t fast all day, only to starve all night.

We are a faith-based British international charity that provides help to people who are victims of natural disasters or conflict or suffering from poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, injustice, deprivation or lack of skills and economic opportunities.

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