Airstrikes in Hodeidah mark fresh violence in vulnerable Yemen port city

3 August 2018 – Almost two months after an offensive on the Yemen port city of Hodeidah began, last night airstrikes hit a fish market and the entrance to a hospital, injuring up to 70 people, including medical staff.

According to official reports at least 20 people have died, and according to news reports the number is already as high as 55.

Jolien Veldwijk, CARE International’s Assistant Country Director in Yemen, said:

We are very concerned about any further escalations. These attacks literally came out of the blue, and have hit people in an already dire humanitarian situation hard. The cease fire gave people time to breathe again, and we were hoping it would give peace talks a real chance.

According to UN estimates, Hodeidah has already seen over 450,000 people displaced in recent weeks and CARE International is deeply concerned that these latest attacks risk even more being forced to leave their homes, facing dangerous journeys across the country to try to reach safety.

Furthermore, Hodeidah port is a vital lifeline for desperately-needed food supplies coming into the country.

Veldwijk said:

Airstrikes have already destroyed much of the water and sanitation facilities and any new damage risks the outbreak of diseases like cholera. We are also very worried that more and more people will face starvation. We keep thinking it cannot get any worse. But unfortunately we are wrong.

More than 10,000 people have already lost their lives in a civil war in Yemen that has lasted over three years, with the UN calling it the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Over 22 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, with more than 8 million people already facing the risk of starvation.

Veldwijk said:

The people of Yemen have experienced unimaginable suffering during this war. Disease, starvation and displacement have ravaged the country, and CARE calls strongly upon all parties to desist from further violence.

Eyewitness accounts

Ahmed*, 32, said:

I was very scared by the sound of the planes, one of them was hovering at a very low altitude and I thought it was going to hit us directly. I ran and I held my 3-year-old daughter tightly. I am very thankful to God that nothing happened to us but I feel extremely upset and sad for the people who were injured and died. It is very frustrating that we live a life full of fear. If we survive today we are not sure if we will survive tomorrow.
 

Nadia*, 35, said:

We fled from Hodeidah a month ago. I want to go back but every time an airstrike happens I feel happy that I fled. Yesterday our neighbours called us and said that the windows of our house were all broken because of the heavy airstrikes.
 

Khalid*, 18, said:

My house is very close to Al Thawra hospital; we were very lucky that we left 20 minutes before the airstrike happened.

CARE works in Hodeidah governorate to support people with access to safe water and increased food security by providing cash to the most vulnerable households.

CARE has worked in Yemen since 1992 and is one of few international aid agencies continuing to deliver humanitarian services under extremely challenging circumstances.

CARE is focusing on making sure that people in the hardest-hit and most hard-to-reach areas have access to emergency supplies and assistance with meeting their basic needs.

About CARE

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting poverty and providing assistance in emergencies. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly women and girls. CARE works in 93 countries, supporting 950 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects, reaching more than 62 million people directly (as per fundraising year 2017).

Media contact:

Emily Wight, Senior Press Officer (Programmes and Policy), +442070916063, wight@careinternational.org 

Ruby Wright, Press and PR Manager: +442080916047, wright@careinternational.org 

Out of hours: +44 (0)7824 563 810

*Names have been changed.

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