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Cairo, 11 June 2018 – We are extremely alarmed by latest escalation of violence in Yemen, most recently in the port city of Hodeidah, one of the country’s most densely populated areas.  In the event of military escalation or siege of the city, the lives of an estimated 250,000 civilians could be at stake. Among these are some 62,500 women of reproductive age, of whom approximately 12,000 would be pregnant and in need of delivery services, including emergency obstetric care services.

Hodeidah port is a critical entry point for food, medicine and fuel supplies, and together with the port of Saleef, just to the north of Hodeidah, accounts for an estimated 70 per cent of commercial imports into the country. An attack on the city and ensuing escalation would paralyse the delivery of reproductive health services and therefore jeopardize the lives of women in need of emergency care.  Before 2013, Yemen had one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the region, estimated at 148 maternal deaths per 100, 000. Today, the maternal deaths ratio is estimated to have doubled.

UNFPA is part of the Rapid Response Mechanism and has stepped up the prepositioning of dignity kits as well as reproductive health kits, and continues to increase the availability and access to reproductive health services across Hodeidah.

UNFPA calls on all parties to the conflict to halt the fighting in Hodeidah, protect civilians, ensure they have the assistance they need to survive, and to allow humanitarian access as stipulated by international humanitarian law.