ADEN, Yemen, July 21 (UPI) -- A World Food Programme (WFP) ship carrying supplies docked in Yemen on Tuesday as part of the organization's efforts to relieve hunger in the country.
A WFP news release confirmed that the MV Han Zhi, carrying over 3,000 tons of food that can feed 180,000 people for one month, docked in Aden's Al-Buraiqa port on Tuesday. The ship had initially reached the city on June 26 but was diverted from the port until it had a safe place to dock.
WFP regional director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, Muhanna Hadi, said that the ship's arrival is a major breakthrough for the agency's humanitarian response in Yemen. Bringing supplies by ship, he adds, will accelerate land-based efforts to meet urgent needs in the country.
WFP had made previous attempts to ship food to Aden. All of the attempts were thwarted by heavy fighting in the port area, which forced WFP to resort to land-based transport that was also plagued by insecurity and difficulty traversing the road into the city. WFP's last outreach to Aden took place on July 14 when it provided supplies to 27,000 people.
Additional WFP ships are on standby near Aden---a city which serves as the organization's gateway to Yemen's southern regions that are mostly inaccessible due to armed conflict. Since April, 13 of Yemen's governorates, including Aden, Hodeidah, Lahj and others have been helped by WFP's efforts.
WFP cites a recent food security assessment which revealed that approximately 13 million people in Yemen may not have access to food. This includes more than 6 million individuals who cannot live without outside assistance.