Yemen President Rejects UN Deal to Take Hodeidah, Raising Fear for Civilians

Saudi-led attack on city risks damage to vital aid port

The fate of the Yemeni aid port of Hodeidah is in many ways the fate of millions of civilians across Northern Yemen, who rely on it as a sole source of food and medicine. The city is under attack by Saudi-led forces, and that is a massive risk.

Saudi coalition artillery fires on Hodeidah

The UN has tried to prevent this by negotiating a takeover of the port, an idea supported by the Houthi rebels who hold it. The deal, however, appears to have failed, with Saudi-backed President Hadi rejecting any deal to let the UN manage the city as an aid port.

Barring any changes, this leaves the Saudi-led forces continuing an invasion, reliant heavily on airstrikes and drawing increasingly near the ports themselves. This raises the likelihood of the port being severely damaged, and inoperable.

If the city falls, it is likely to lead to further starvation in the north, as the Saudis tend not to allow conquered ports to feed any but “loyal” cities. If it is damaged in the invasion, then no matter who wins, the port won’t be feeding anyone for awhile, and millions will starve.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.