445,000 Yemenis have fled Hodeida area: UN says
Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the Hodeida area have been forced to flee amid a Saudi-led coalition offensive to take the key Red Sea port city from Shiite rebels, the United Nations’ refugee agency said Friday, as fierce battles continue to rage in the area.
Some 445,000 of the Hodeida governorate’s residents have fled since June, a figure that underscores the dire situation in and around the city that serves as the main entry point for food and aid, the UNHCR said. The governorate’s population is around 3 million, according to figures from the Norwegian Refugee Council.
The UNHCR also expressed concern over the safety of those trapped in Hodeida as the intensified military operations “are increasingly confining populations and cutting off exit routes.” Figures on those still in Hodeida are difficult to gauge, the agency added.
Yemeni government forces supported by the coalition’s air and naval forces continue to engage in heavy fighting with the rebels, known as Houthis. The fighting has killed dozens of combatants from both sides, with dozens of military vehicles destroyed or burning along the front lines.
In a Friday statement, Yemen’s internationally recognized government based in the southern city of Aden said its forces are advancing toward the north and west of Hodeida and across all fronts with cover from the coalition.