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As Hodeida battle grinds on, residents suffer lack of clean water, electricity

[su_label type=”info”]SMA News – Agencies [/su_label][su_spacer size=”10″] Residents unable to flee Hodeida face constant bombardment, lack of clean water and power cuts as an Arab coalition battles to capture Yemen’s main port from Iran-aligned Houthis in the biggest battle of a three-year war.
“We hear loud explosions all the time,” Assem Mohammed, a 30-year-old pharmacist, said by telephone. “We haven’t had water for three days.”
Mohammed, with his wife and six-month-old daughter, are among a dwindling number of residents who have remained in Hawak district, a neighborhood sandwiched between the airport, captured this week by the coalition, and the sea port, the latest target of the military offensive.
Drivers transporting fleeing residents out of Hodeida have more than doubled their fares since the battle began, while the hospital where Mohammed works has threatened employees with dismissal if they are absent for long periods.
“Electricity has also been cut in most of the city since three days, and in some neighborhoods for a week,” he said. He blamed the water shortage on damage to pipes that relief workers say has been caused by the Houthis digging trenches. Houthi officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
The alliance of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched its assault on Hodeida last week in an effort to cut the Houthi fighters who control the capital and most populated areas off from the outside world.
The United Nations fears that the campaign could cause a catastrophe in the country already undergoing the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis. The port is the main lifeline for 22 million people who depend on aid, including 8.4 millions on the verge of starvation.
“We’re seeing high levels of malnutrition on the ground,” Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen told Reuters on Friday.
“Of the main issues we are concerned about, none is more significant right now than the possibility of a cholera outbreak,” she added. “We could see hundreds of thousands of people affected.”
Hodeida itself is home to 600,000 people more directly in the line of fire.

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