SANA'A � A ship carrying four mobile cranes purchased by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has arrived in Yemen's Hodeidah Port to allow faster delivery of relief items for Yemeni families in the grips of the world's biggest hunger crisis.
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 WFP-chartered vessel MV JUIST to Yemen.
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. This also includes 8.4 million hungry people who depend entirely on external food assistance. Most of them live in areas in central and northern Yemen that are most rapidly and cost-effectively reached via Hodeidah Port.
We are grateful to the US Government for funding these cranes, the US and UK governments for continuing to draw attention to how important they are and to all our partners whose collaboration and support ultimately helped us get them into Yemen, said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. The real winners are the people of Yemen, because Hodeidah Port is a humanitarian lifeline for millions who are on the brink of famine. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure a consistent flow of life-saving food and supplies to the country.
The cranes will increase the port's capacity, but more work is needed, Beasley noted. To avert even greater catastrophe, WFP needs better access and smooth, timely clearance of shipments, he said.
WFP has been providing monthly food assistance to nearly seven million people in Yemen since August 2017 � double the number it was able to assist in the first half of 2017.
In January, WFP hopes to reach 7 million people, though as in previous months and due to financial constraints only about half of these people are receiving full food rations, the remainder will receive a smaller ration that covers 60 percent of their needs. WFP requires US$303 million to sustain life-saving support through June 2018.
Source: World Food Programme