UN monitoring developments around Yemen’s Hodeidah

The US is monitoring the latest developments around the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah in Yemen, said a spokesman.

“We are aware of reports of the withdrawal of government of Yemen forces from around areas south of Hodeidah city up to At Tuhayta District, and indications that Houthi forces have now moved into much of the vacated areas,” Xinhua news agency quoted Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as saying.

The UN was not informed in advance of the movements, he said.

Nevertheless, the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement is monitoring the situation closely and liaising with the parties to establish the facts on the ground and to respond, as necessary, according to its mandate, according to the spokesman.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to ensure the safety and security of civilians in and around those areas where shifts in front lines have taken place,” said Haq.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Thursday that fighting continued along nearly 50 front lines in Yemen.

The humanitarian community is scaling up assistance, but is quickly getting outpaced by the increasing scale of humanitarian needs.

So far, aid agencies have received about 55 per cent of the funding they require for this year. This has helped to keep famine at bay and achieve other important results. But money is quickly running out. Humanitarians also need to be able to do their work safely and without interference, said the office.

Hodeidah, a vital lifeline for millions facing starvation, has seen a shaky ceasefire between the government and the Houthi group since they reached a UN-sponsored truce in Stockholm in December 2018.

The truce was seen as the first phase toward a nationwide ceasefire to end Yemen’s years-long military conflict, but fighting continued across the impoverished Arab country.

Hodeidah is under the control of the Houthis, while the government forces have advanced to the southern and eastern districts.