Speed Reads

crisis in yemen

The people of Yemen are starving, and this battle may make things way worse

Forces from the U.S.-supported, Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen's civil war on Saturday captured the international airport in the rebel-held city of Hodeida. This is the largest battle of the war so far, as Hodeida is the only port controlled by the Houthi rebels.

The United Nations and international humanitarian organizations urged the Saudi coalition to cancel its assault on Hodeida, through which 70 percent of Yemen's food supplies arrive. The country is already wracked by cholera and on the brink of famine, so shuttering the port could lead to mass civilian starvation. Already millions of Yemenis are at risk of starving to death, and more than 100 Yemeni children die daily from starvation and preventable diseases.

Yemen imports 90 percent of its food supply, so the Saudi blockade — cast as an attempt to keep weapons away from Houthi fighters — has had deadly results. "We didn't have any food, or drink or anything, not even water," a Yemeni named Aly Omar, who lives near the captured airport, told Reuters. "I call on the United Nations and the Red Cross to open a way for us to get out of the situation we're in. Our kids, women, and elderly are stuck."

Read more on the U.S. role in Yemen's crisis here at The Week.