Throughout May, anti-Houthi forces made rapid gains along the west coast, coming under 15km from the port city of Hodeidah. With military officials on the ground readying for an assault on the city, eyes are on UN Envoy Martin Griffiths, who is to present to the Security Council in June his plan to revive political negotiations. However, even without further disruption to the port, trade activity is already severely impeded: In May, imports remained well below the average before the port closures in November 2017, and in April had dropped to their lowest point since UNVIM was activated in 2016. The UN relief chief warned a further ten million people in Yemen risk becoming severely food insecure, which would more than double the current 8.4 million people falling under this classification, in a country where a total 22 million require some form of humanitarian assistance.
The Houthis maintained their high rate of missile attacks into Saudi Arabia, and conducted a foiled drone attack on an airport in the Kingdom. Meanwhile, the controversial deployment of Emirati troops to Socotra, which the Yemeni government deemed an “unjustified military action,” wound down via Saudi-led mediation and a deployment of Saudi forces to the island. To read about all the major economic, humanitarian, political, and military developments that took place in Yemen throughout the month, access the full May 2018 issue of the Yemen Trend by clicking on the PDF icon below.