US urges United Nations cooperation as fighting flares in Yemen

US urges United Nations cooperation as fighting flares in Yemen

Witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the fighting has forced dozens of families to leave their homes.

Around 70 per cent of Yemen's imports, including the vast majority of its food, comes through Hodeidah and the port is described as the country's "lifeline". "However despite these actions, a military assault now looks imminent", Dfid said in an email to aid groups.

"While the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies are reconfiguring their presence it's also our planned intention though to stay and deliver. We are working with very largely numbers of Yemeni organizations and individuals".

Wam quoted the governor of Al Hodeidah, Al Hassan Ali Taher, as saying: "Intensified preparations are under way, including [the movement] of heavy artillery and troops to push Houthis out of the city". "I hope that it will be possible to avoid a battle for Hodeidah".

The U.N. Security Council, which was also briefed by Griffiths via video from Amman, strongly backed his efforts and Lowcock's and stressed again that "only negotiated settlement can bring the war to an end".

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"We urge you to use all available means to avert a catastrophic military assault on Yemen's major port city of Hodeida by the Saudi-led coalition, and to present Congress with immediate clarification regarding the full scope of USA military involvement in that conflict", a draft letter from the bipartisan group said, reported The Hill, which obtained a copy.

On Friday, Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said that humanitarian agencies "fear, in a prolonged worst case, that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything - even their lives".

Since the Coalition launched its support for the Yemeni government in March 2015, Houthis have fired 149 ballistic issiles and 66,315 projectiles toward Saudi Arabia. The coalition aims to restore the government of self-exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Almost 10,000 people have been killed since the alliance launched its intervention in Yemen in March 2015, contributing to what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis. It has damaged Yemen's infrastructure, crippled its health system and pushed the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of starvation.

United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock, who also briefed the council, said an attack on Hodeidah would be "catastrophic" and that aid agencies were hoping to "stay and deliver" in Yemen, which the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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