Cranes arrive in Hodeidah to boost Yemen food aid flow

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Four mobile cranes have arrived in Hodeidah port, the United Nations said on Monday, after the Saudi-led Arab coalition coordinated their entry into Yemen.

The US-funded equipment will help replace four giant cranes disabled during the three-year war

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said in a statement that a ship carrying the cranes it bought with funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had arrived in Yemen’s Hodeidah Port and were expected to be operational immediately.

"With each of the mobile cranes able to handle up to 60 tons, they will significantly boost the discharge of humanitarian cargo and other relief items," the statement said.

The WFP said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates facilitated the transfer of the cranes aboard the WFP-chartered vessel MV JUIST to Yemen.

The Arab coalition eased a three-week blockade which was imposed on Yemeni ports and airports in November in response to attacks by the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

The cranes are expected to help ease a humanitarian crisis ravaging Yemen since its war began in 2015. Before the conflict, Hodeidah port handled around 70 percent of Yemen's imports, including critically-needed food and humanitarian supplies.