CAIRO – A United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) ship carrying 500,000 litres of fuel for humanitarian operations arrived in Aden today – the first WFP-chartered vessel with fuel to berth in the southern port since conflict erupted in Yemen in late March.
The MV Copenhagen was originally due to dock in Aden in early June but was re-routed to Al Hodeidah when fighting prevented it from approaching Aden. The vessel, ferrying fuel to Yemen for aid organizations, discharged 1 million litres of fuel in Al Hodeida two weeks ago.
“We hope we can maintain this momentum with deliveries of much needed assistance especially that now all land routes into Aden governorate are cut off,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“We need access to transport routes by both land and sea to ensure that food reaches the people who need it.”
WFP requires 1 million litres of fuel each month for its operations in Yemen. Humanitarian operations overall are estimated to need about 5 million litres per month, including fuel for milling grain as well as keeping the water supply systems pumping throughout the country. To date, WFP-chartered ships have transported more than 2 million litres of fuel to Yemen.
The situation in Aden is particularly dire with most bakeries closed because of shortages of wheat and fuel. According to WFP market monitoring, the price of fuel in Aden has increased by 800 percent compared to pre-crisis levels and the price of wheat flour has more than doubled.
The MV Copenhagen joined the WFP-chartered MV Han Zhi at Aden’s oil port of Al-Buraiqa. The first WFP-chartered ship to reach Aden since fighting broke out in late March, the Han Zhi arrived on Tuesday with 3,000 metric tons of food – enough to feed 180,000 people for a month.
Both ships were forced to wait off Aden port before they could berth safely. Meanwhile another WFP vessel, carrying 3,220 metric tons of food as well as a smaller ship, or dhow, with 390 metric tons of food, will dock in Aden in the coming 24 hours. WFP made repeated attempts to send ships with fuel and food but all were blocked until Tuesday by fierce fighting in the port area.
WFP will continue to send ships carrying humanitarian supplies to all ports in Yemen to meet the deep needs of hundreds of thousands of people for assistance. But humanitarian agencies cannot replace commercial food and fuel imports that are urgently needed to return to pre-crisis levels.
Since April, WFP has reached more than 2 million conflict-affected and severely food insecure people in 13 of Yemen’s governorates, consisting of Abyan, Aden, Dhale, Al Mahwit, Amran, Dhamar, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Lahj, Sana’a, Saada, Shabwa and Taiz.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.
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