Yemen: 71 ICRC staff pulled out of Yemen amid security incidents, threats

View of the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah Yemen

The United Nations warned on Friday that a military attack or siege by Yemeni pro-government forces supported by a USA -backed, Saudi-led coalition on the port city of Hodeida will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

Airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition with logistical and intelligence support from the United States have killed and wounded thousands of civilians, often in indiscriminate attacks, human rights groups say.

Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said on Friday that humanitarian agencies "fear, in a prolonged worst case, that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything - even their lives".

The peace plan was drafted by special United Nations envoy Martin Griffiths, who is due to present a "framework for negotiations" in Yemen by mid-June.

"Apart from the avoidable humanitarian consequences of such a battle, I am also very concerned about the impact (on) chances of a political settlement of this conflict", Griffiths said.

A Red Cross spokeswoman said those withdrawn represented more than half of the ICRC's global staff in Yemen, but the organisation still had 452 workers in the country, including Yemeni citizens.


The ICRC said that the decision would lead to the "crippling" of its life-saving work in the war-ravaged country, which includes emergency medical work and food assistance.

A draft UN-led peace plan for Yemen has been revealed that could see Houthi rebels hand over ballistic missiles in exchange for a place in a new provisional government, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is removing 71 of its international staff from Yemen, citing a series of incidents and threats by groups trying to turn the organisation into a pawn in the three-year civil war.

The United Nations said there were no plans to evacuate staff.

"In addition to being one of the most densely populated areas in Yemen, Hodeidah is the most important entry point for food and basic supplies needed to prevent starvation and cholera recurrence", the statement said.

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