Fuel is the lifeline of humanitarian efforts in conflict-ridden Yemen. An increase in violence, and a sharp decline of fuel stocks risk halting relief activities in the impoverished country. Humanitarian organisations are reporting some of their operations have been forced to stop, or are being seriously hampered due to critically low supplies. In response, the Logistics Cluster is scaling up its efforts to facilitate fuel transport via alternative supply routes.

April 2015 saw a rapid escalation of violence in Yemen, resulting in extensive displacement of people and damage to infrastructure and telecommunication networks. Concerns over deteriorating security in the country, have also heavily impacted the work of humanitarian agencies, and local service providers, caring for hundreds of thousands of Yemenis affected by the conflict.

Furthermore, an alarming shortage of fuel supplies is becoming a key issue for humanitarian organisations as essential functions, such as food distribution, the provision of clean water and health facilities, depend on fuel to operate.

In order to support the humanitarian community’s operations in Yemen, the Logistics Cluster had already set up four fuel provision systems in Sana’a, Aden, Haradh and Hodeidah with a total capacity of 454,000 litres, prior to the recent escalation of the conflict. In April 2015 the Cluster distributed a total of 60,000 litres (including 43,800 litres of diesel and 16,300 litres of petrol) to 17 humanitarian organisations.

But “the clock is ticking,” warns Roberto Marrazzini, Logistics Cluster Officer, supporting the Yemen Logistics Cluster operation from Djibouti. “Fuel stocks are progressively running dry, with approximately 142,377 litres of fuel left at our disposal.”

In recent weeks the Logistics Cluster has stepped up its efforts to provide fuel via alternative supply routes. Sourcing fuel from other countries and transporting it via chartered vessel, for example, has been one of the activities facilitated by Logistics Cluster’s teams on the ground.

Amman-based Logistics Cluster Coordinator, Qaseem Ghausy, advises 120,000 litres of diesel (600 drums) departed from Djibouti on a chartered vessel and is expected to arrive in Hodeidah, where there are currently no stocks, on May 8. A second vessel with 300,000 litres procured in Dubai, is en route to Hodeidah where it is expected to arrive on May 11 to supply international relief organisations there.

Upon arrival in Hodeidah, the fuel will be then delivered by the Logistics Cluster to humanitarian actors to support their implementation of life-saving activities including the delivery of urgently required food and Non Food Items (NFIs).

The race against time continues….