Saudi-backed forces are reporting heavy fighting in and around the vital aid port of Hodeidah, in northwestern Yemen. Reports suggest that over 60 were killed in the course of the day’s clashes, with 54 of them Shi’ite Houthis.
Fighting initially focused on some of the rare farms around the province, and some military positions leading into the port city itself. The port is the source of food aid for about 70% of Yemen, and the lone port under the control of the Houthi movement.
Yemen imports the vast, vast majority of its food, so a protracted battle for the last Houthi port could cut off millions in Houthi territory from any food aid at all, leading to mass starvation. The Saudi-backed forces have promised to eventually open “humanitarian routes” out of the city.
After years of war, the Yemeni civilians don’t have a lot of wiggle room for getting spare food in a timely fashion. When fighting escalates in the area, it makes safe transport of aid virtually impossible, and brings the long-deprived population closer to the brink.