In October, UN Relief Chief Mark Lowcock warned the Security Council that the prospect of famine has drawn nearer since his September briefing, and that he had likely under-estimated the scale of the crisis. “The total number of people facing pre-famine conditions, meaning they are entirely reliant on external aid for survival, could soon reach not 11 million but 14 million,” he said, warning that the country is on the verge of the largest famine in decades. The food security monitor FEWS NET further warned that Famine (IPC Phase 5) could result from the continued deterioration of the riyal, even if imports through Hodeidah are not blocked.
With pressure mounting over the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, not least from Congress over America’s potential complicity, the US secretaries of state and defense called for a ceasefire and consultations with the UN envoy to resume in November. This marks the first time the US is publicly leading the call for action toward a resolution to the conflict since former Secretary of State John Kerry unsuccessfully attempted to strike a ceasefire two years ago. At the same time, throughout October thousands of Yemeni and Sudanese reinforcements were reportedly sent to advance the front around Hodeidah city.
Despite the active conflict in close proximity to the port of Hodeidah, food imports through Hodeidah have continued relatively uninterrupted, nearly meeting the average national requirements over the last six months. Fuel imports through Hodeidah, on the other hand, remained very low, at around a quarter of requirements. At the same time, a Saudi tanker delivered the first installment of an oil derivatives grant worth around $60 million to Aden port, to help fuel power stations in Hadi-controlled governorates. President Hadi dismissed Ahmed Bin Daghar, in part due to what Hadi called his mismanagement of the economy, and appointed in his place Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, a Taiz native who was serving as minister of public works and roads.
To read about all the major economic, humanitarian, political, and military developments that took place in Yemen throughout the month, access the full October 2018 issue of the Yemen Trend by clicking on the PDF icon below.