The Yemeni port of Hodeidah, which closed in November after a rebel-fired ballistic missile, has received four cranes in an effort to allow faster delivery of relief items.
The cranes, which will be operational immediately, are urgently needed to boost the capacity of Hodeidah Port, which handles around 70 percent of Yemen’s imports, including critically-needed food and humanitarian supplies.
With each of the mobile cranes able to handle up to 60 tons, they will significantly boost the discharge of humanitarian cargo and other relief items. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates facilitated the transfer of the cranes aboard the United Nations World Food Programme-chartered vessel MV JUIST to Yemen.
Following the closure of the Red Sea ports Hodeidah and Saleef, which are under the control of Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia-led Coalition allowed for the port of Hodeidah to reopen on November 22 in order to receive urgent humanitarian relief.
In late December 2017, it was decided that the two ports would be open for one month for humanitarian and commercial goods. Since then, thirteen aid ships arrived at these ports, Saudi Press Agency cited the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, as saying.
McGoldrick has also called on Houthis “to stop threatening Red Sea ports,” Saudi Press Agency writes.
Following the closure of the Yemeni ports, in November 2017 the Houthi movement threatened to target commercial ships in the region, the Houthis’ official media outlet Al Masirah reported.
Earlier in January, the Houthi movement threatened to block the Red Sea shipping lane, without disclosing any details on the alleged blockade, if the Saudi Arabia-led coalition continues moving toward the port of Hodeidah.
According to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), more than 22 million people in Yemen need humanitarian assistance, including 11.3 million who are in acute need – an increase of more than one million people since March 2017.
World Maritime News Staff