Yemen’s week-long ‘march for bread’ reaches Hudaydah
Yemeni demonstrators have reached the western port city of Hudaydah following a week-long rally that started in the capital, Sana’a, in an attempt to draw the world’s attention to the dire humanitarian situation in the country amid the Saudi aggression.
The demonstrators made the 225-kilometer walk, dubbed the “march for bread,” to demand unrestricted aid deliveries to Yemen.
Waving flags emblazoned with loaves of bread, the protesters said Hudaydah should be declared a humanitarian zone and spared in the Saudi war on the impoverished country.
“The Hudaydah port has nothing to do with war… leave the port alone. The port is for our women, children, our old people,” said protester Ali Mohammed Yahya.
Hudaydah is a major lifeline for imports into Yemen, a country that is 80–90 percent dependent on imported stuff for its survival.
Saudi Arabia has threatened to attack the port city and retake it from the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Last week, the United Nations urged the Riyadh regime not to bomb Hudaydah and take humanitarian concerns into account.
Yemen aid summit kicks off in Geneva
Separately on Tuesday, a pledging conference to raise funds for Yemen started in the Swiss city of Geneva.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and high-ranking government officials from dozens of countries are meeting in the summit.
“Our humanitarian appeal for 2017 is $2.1 billion and only 15 percent has been met until the present moment,” Guterres said in his opening remarks to the gathering.
Geert Cappelaere, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)’s director for Mideast and North Africa also said at the event, “Without further action from parties to the conflict and the international community, Yemen is at a serious risk of plunging into famine – with even more children’s lives hanging in the balance.”
Some two thirds of the population or 18.8 million people are in need of assistance, according to the latest UN figures.
In another development on Tuesday, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), an independent humanitarian organization, warned that the survival of millions of Yemeni civilians is at risk if the Hudaydah lifeline is cut.
“The world needs to ramp up aid to Yemen at this critical moment, when millions of people are at risk of dying of hunger,” said NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland.
Saudi Arabia has been leading a brutal military campaign against Yemen since March 2015. The kingdom has also imposed an aerial and naval blockade on its southern neighbor.
Turning a blind eye to the plight of Yemeni civilians, Britain and the US have provided huge amounts of arms and military training to the Saudi forces.
The war by Saudi Arabia, which seeks to reinstate Yemen’s former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, has killed over 12,000 Yemenis, according to recent tallies.