SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Sitting by her son's hospital bed, Houdaid Masbah looks at her 5-year-old boy's skeletal body and sunken cheeks, helplessness engulfing her like a thick cloud — a desperation she shares with many other mothers in Hodeidah.
Even before the war, Hodeidah was one of the poorest cities in Yemen, the Arab world's most impoverished nation. Now, the destruction of the port city's fishing boats and infrastructure by the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes over the past 18 months of war has deprived the townspeople of their prime livelihood.
The U.N. estimates that about 100,000 children under the age of five in the city and the surrounding province, also called Hodeidah, are at risk of severe malnutrition.
Life became harder for the people in this Red Sea city after March 2015, when the coalition of nine Arab Sunni countries began bombing Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels to help the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi return to power. The Houthis had pushed Hadi into self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia and captured large chunks of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.
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