RNA - “Hudaydah is a lifeline for millions of Yemenis,” Iolanda Jaquemet, a Spokeswoman from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told RT.
“The assault risks exacerbating an already catastrophic situation... Should this aid not be able to flow into this port, it will put at risk millions of lives,” she said.
Shutting down the operations of the “main lifeline for the population in Yemen”, which receives approximately 80 percent of all Yemeni imports, including the bulk of humanitarian goods, will have “huge humanitarian implications”, Joao Martins, head of the Doctors without Borders (MSF) mission in Yemen, told RT.
“The hampering of the function of the seaport will for sure have an impact on the population's living conditions and the capacity for them to cope with the current crisis,” he added.
Potential casualties among the city's population of 400,000 remain the biggest concern of the humanitarian agencies, as well as the UN, which has called on the warring parties to spare civilian lives.
Jaquemet reminded the warring parties that they are obliged by international law to “spare civilians” as well as to offer safe passage for those who are trying to flee the war zone.
“The assault on Hudaydah could have a devastating impact for hundreds of thousands of civilians – not just in the city but throughout Yemen,” Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf said in a statement.
“Under international humanitarian law, parties to the conflict have to do everything possible to protect civilians and ensure they have access to the assistance they need to survive,” Lise Grande, UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, told Reuters.
“Further military escalation will have serious consequences on the dire humanitarian situation in the country,” the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen said in a statement.
At dawn on Wednesday, the Saudi-led Arab coalition began the long-anticipated ground, naval, and air campaign against Ansarullah fighters in Hudaydah, trying to recapture the strategic port. After the first day of fighting, the coalition failed to capture the Red Sea city or to take possession of its airport. Despite the fighting, the port continues to operate, management of the port stated, while the UN confirmed an aid delivery on Wednesday.