Yemen gets first UN food shipment in 4 months

2015-07-21 18:56
(Hani Mohammed, AP)

(Hani Mohammed, AP)

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Cairo - A ship carrying 3 000 tons of food aid for the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) docked on Tuesday at the southern Yemeni port of Aden, the first such shipment to the beleaguered city in four months of fighting.

WFP said the shipment was a "breakthrough" that would provide a month's worth of food for 180 000 people in Yemen's conflict-hit southern provinces.

Aden and surrounding areas have suffered months of fighting between mainly Shi'ite Houthi rebels from the north of the country and a range of local opponents, including backers of exiled president Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi.

On Monday, the anti-Houthi fighters regained full control of the area around the port, the largest in Yemen, cementing their hold on the city.

An international medical charity said the death toll from Houthi shelling on the city's Dar Saad district on Sunday had crossed 75 and could rise further.

WFP spokesperson Reem Nada told dpa: "We've attempted several times to reach the port of Aden but all of those attempts until today were unsuccessful due to severe fighting in the port."

"We have been able to reach Aden and the south by road before but it's a breakthrough to be able to bring in food directly to Aden port," Nada added.

The UN says that about 12.9 million Yemenis - about half the country's population - are in need of food and other aid.

Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, suffered from severe food shortages even before the Houthis' advance on Aden in March, which triggered widescale fighting and a Saudi-led air campaign against the rebels.

Six of southern Yemen's seven provinces were already in a "critical nutrition situation" before the conflict escalated, according to the UN, which also says that more than 3 500 people have died in the conflict.

Read more on:    yemen  |  famine  |  aid
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