Critically-needed WFP supplies destroyed in Yemen warehouse fire

UN warehouses destroyed in major fire, dealing major blow to relief efforts in war-torn country
Yemen, Civil war, Fire, Warehouse, UN, WFP

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A fire that broke out at the Houthi-controlled Yemeni port of Hodeidah early on Saturday has destroyed warehouses filled with cooking fuel and foodstuffs, according to port workers.

Fire trucks had not been able to put out the blaze in the warehousing area at the time of writing. According to Reuters the fire appeared to have been caused by an electrical short circuit.

Reuters television footage showed thick plumes of smoke rising into the air and firefighters dousing flames.

Yemen was already the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula before the three year civil war, which has crippled the economy and put 22-million people at risk of famine.

Hodeidah port, on the Red Sea, handles the bulk of Yemen’s imports, including critically needed food and aid supplies.

“The fire destroyed huge amounts of fuel and humanitarian aid and foodstuff,” a UN World Food Programme (WFP) employee told Reuters, adding that there would be an investigation to determine the cause.

The Houthi-run Saba news agency reported the fire at the port, but did not mention the cause.

Workers said the warehouses also contained hundreds of thousands of mattresses meant for those displaced by the war, which has killed more than 10,000 people.

The United Nations says that three out of four Yemenis – 22 million civilians – need relief aid.