A United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) chartered ship carrying vital food assistance destined for the Yemeni port of Aden was diverted yesterday to the port of Hudaydah following reports of ongoing fighting and security threats.
The MV Amsterdam was on its way from Djibouti carrying over 5,700 metric tons of food including wheat, pulses, vegetable oil and micronutrient powder, which is used to protect young children against malnutrition and anaemia, said a statement released from WFP today.
“We will continue to try to reach Aden and surrounding areas by sending supplies from Hudaydah by road as millions of people are in desperate need of food in areas that have been inaccessible for a long time due to the fighting,” said Tahir Nour, WFP Emergency Coordinator for Yemen in the same note.
“Yemen has hit a critical stage in terms of food availability as there is not as much food in the markets and that is now pushing more people into hunger,” Mr. Nour added.
The rations on the diverted vessel are enough to feed around 60,000 Yemenis for a month. It was expected to berth in Aden on Saturday when the port authorities issued a security warning that made it change its course.
Another vessel, the MV Celine, which is carrying 7,000 metric tons of wheat flour, also docked in Hudaydah on May 31 as previously scheduled. Some 70,000 Yemenis are expected to benefit from this shipment.
WFP says it plans to send more food by sea in the next few weeks from a base that the agency created in Djibouti to send food and urgently needed humanitarian supplies to Yemen. But transporting food across Yemen by road remains difficult because of the ongoing clashes.
Since April, WFP has distributed more than 20,000 metric tons of food in nine governorates reaching more 1.5 million Yemenis. More distributions are still needed as the recent conflict added around 2.5 million Yemenis to the 10 million people already considered “food-insecure,” who were struggling to get enough food for a normal life even before the conflict began.
Yemen, the poorest country in the region, imports almost 90 percent of its food from abroad.