Oxfam warns that the Saudi coalition attack on Hodeidah could double the number of people on the verge of starvation very quickly if the attack shuts down the port:

The already “staggering” number of 8.4 million Yemenis who don’t know where their next meal will come from could double very quickly [bold mine-DL} if ports in the rebel-held north are attacked and shut down, the head of the aid agency Oxfam America said Tuesday.

The U.N. has already projected that another ten million Yemenis would be on the verge of starvation by the end of the year if conditions do not improve. Causing the port to shut down would have almost the same effect much sooner. If the Hodeidah offensive goes ahead and forces the closure of the port, we could be looking at nearly seventeen million people on the edge of famine. If the port remained closed, that would mean the loss of millions of lives. That can still be prevented if the offensive is stopped, but it needs to be stopped now.

The risk to the civilian population from continuing the Hodeidah offensive is unacceptably high, and the coalition’s reason for attacking the port (ostensibly to halt arms shipments to the Houthis) is nonsense. The coalition blockade has inflicted collective punishment on Yemen’s civilian population for more than three years in a vain effort to deprive their enemies of weapons. The weapons still get in through other smuggling channels, but food and medicine have been made prohibitively expensive for millions of people. The administration won’t rein in the coalition, so Congress has to vote to halt all military assistance and arms sales to the coalition and it needs to be done right away.