News ID: 219333
Published: 0215 GMT August 04, 2018

Hundreds of pregnant women risk death in Yemen’s Hodeida: UN

Hundreds of pregnant women risk death in Yemen’s Hodeida: UN

Hundreds of pregnant women in the Yemeni city of Hodeida risk dying as the escalating conflict puts medical care out of reach in a country with one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates, the United Nations said.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said pregnant women were at “extreme risk” as it became harder to access care, with the maternal death rate likely to have doubled from its 2015 tally of 385 deaths per 100,000 live births, Reuters reported.

The violence limits the agency’s access to Hodeida, but it estimated 90,000 women were due to give birth there in the next nine months.

The escalation in the conflict has destroyed health facilities and placed those who suffered complications like hemorrhaging or infections at heightened risk, it said.

The offensive on Hodeida launched on June 12 by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is the largest battle yet in the three-year war that has killed more than 10,000 people.

The coalition ignored repeated warnings that the heavily defended Red Sea port under attack will trigger a food and humanitarian crisis in an impoverished Yemen.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to reach pregnant women or those who want to avoid getting pregnant with the reproductive health services and medicines they require,” said Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA director for the Arab Region, this week.

Hodeida is the main port of the impoverished Arab country, where around 8.4 million people are believed to be on the verge of starvation, and a lifeline for millions.

The Saudi-led alliance intervened in Yemen in 2015 to restore former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The war has damaged Yemen's infrastructure, crippled the health system and pushed the country to the brink of famine.

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