Civilians flee as Arab states pound Yemen port

Arab warplanes and warships pounded Houthi positions in Yemen's Hodeidah last week, as a Saudi-led alliance tried to seize the main port in the largest battle of a war that has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The United Nations is struggling to avert disruption to the port.

Arab warplanes and warships pounded Houthi positions in Yemen's Hodeidah last week, as a Saudi-led alliance tried to seize the main port in the largest battle of a war that has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The United Nations is struggling to avert disruption to the port, the main lifeline for food aid to a country where 8.4m people are on the verge of starvation in what potentially would be the world's worst famine for generations. The Arab coalition also struck the main road linking Hodeidah to the capital Sanaa to block reinforcements, residents and anti-Houthi Yemeni military officials said. 
The Iran-aligned Houthis control the capital and most of Yemen's populated areas. The Arab states have been fighting since 2015 to unseat them and restore an exiled, Saudi-backed government. Capturing Hodeidah, the Houthis' only port, would give the coalition the upper hand in the war, in which neither side has made much progress for years.
Western countries have quietly backed the Arab coalition, but the threat of humanitarian catastrophe on an historic scale could unravel that support.

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