Attack on Yemen's Hodeida puts 170,000 children in line of fire: Save the Children

Attack on Yemen's Hodeida puts 170,000 children in line of fire: Save the Children
Any attack on Yemen's densely-populated Red Sea port will almost certainly result in a huge loss of civilian life, Save the Children said.
2 min read
07 June, 2018
Years of war have left 22 million people in need of food aid [Getty]
British charity Save the Children has warned an impending Saudi-led assault on Yemen's Hodeida port puts 170,000 children in the line of fire. 

Any attack by anti-Houthi forces on the densely populated city will result in a huge loss of civilian lives, the charity said on Friday.

"These children trapped in Hodeida have nowhere to run or hide from the bombs that might fall on their homes and schools," said Tamer Kirolos, Yemen Country Director.

"We know from experience and evidence that when bombs are dropped in populated areas the vast majority of casualties are civilians, with children the most vulnerable. They will pay the heaviest price for this assault on their city and all the parties to this conflict will be to blame."

Hodeida port is the main conduit for commercial imports and a vital life-line for humanitarian aid into Yemen, where years of war have left some 22 million people in need of food aid.

Read more: The magical thinking behind an attack on Hodeida

Pro-government forces in Yemen are preparing an assault on the Red Sea port in a bid to force Houthi rebels to surrender it.

Aid agencies had warned earlier this month the planned offensive would be disastrous for the country, with the Red Cross announcing on Thursday it had withdrawn 70 humanitarian workers over security threats.

The withdrawal came on the day a draft UN-led peace plan for Yemen was revealed that could see Houthi rebels hand over ballistic missiles in exchange for a place in a new provisional government, ending the four-year war that has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

But Save the Children warned a Hodeida operation would ruin any chance for peace.

"A major escalation in fighting in Hodeida to try and take the city and port will likely kill the prospect of any peace talks in the short-term and condemn the children of Yemen to yet more misery," Kirolos said.

"The international community must bring its influence to bear to help prevent any further escalation of this conflict." 

War broke out in September 2014, when Houthi forces took over the Yemeni capital. Saudi Arabia and the UAE entered the war in 2015, intensifying the conflict and seeing thousands more killed in bombing.