Middle East

First food aid in six months reaches two Yemen districts


It will be the first delivery southern Hodeida districts have received in six months, after a World Food Programme truck was "hit", according to the agency.

A slowdown in fighting in Yemen's Hodeida province has allowed the UN to deliver more than 3000 tonnes of food to two areas for the first time in six months, the World Food Programme said Tuesday. 

Tuhayta and Darahimi districts in southern Hodeida last received humanitarian aid in July, before a WFP truck was "hit," agency spokesman Herve Verhoosel said, without elaborating on the nature of the July incident. 

The deliveries, so far to the districts, include more than 3300 metric tonnes of food. 

A severely malnourished boy in a hospital in Yemen
More than 80,000 children in Yemen have died from starvation, charity Save the Children says.

"This can be thanks to an inconsistent deescalation over recent days following the December peace talks in Stockholm," Mr Verhoosel said. 

The rebel-held port in Hodeida city - through which more than 80 per cent of imports and humanitarian aid pass - was for months the main front line in the Yemeni conflict, after government forces launched an offensive to capture it in June from Iran-backed Huthi rebels. 

Yemen's government forces are supported by a Saudi-backed coalition. 

The United Nations has said the Hodeida truce has largely held since it came into force on December 18 but there have been delays in the agreed pullback of rebel and government forces. 

Since the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the government in March 2015, the conflict has killed nearly 10,000 people and unleashed the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

UN officials say 80 per cent of the population, about 24 million people, are in need of aid and nearly 10 million are just one step away from famine.

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