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Hodeidah battle strands displaced families in Sanaa

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SANAA, Yemen — Thousands of families arrived on Saturday in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, after fleeing military confrontations between pro-government forces and armed rebels in Yemen’s Hodeidah port city.

The displaced families were received by local authorities in Abu Bakr al-Sideek school, an empty school along the Hodeidah-Sanaa road in the western part of Sanaa.

Wearing in traditional black abaya and niqab, hundreds of women stand in a long line at the state-owned school to register as internally displaced people (IDPs) to receive aid and allowed along with their husbands and children into the classrooms.

Some families fled their homes in the village of al-Manzar and al-Durayhemi district, about 10 kilometers south of Hodeidah airport, while some escaped from the center of Hodeidah city for fears of an immediate military attack.

It took three hours until authorities permitted journalists to enter the school and interview the families.

Families who arrived earlier this week, have already given classrooms, while dozens of registered families sit on the dirt in the school’s courtyard awaiting for the authorities to accommodate them.

An official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that the displaced families should first register their names and the places they escape from. Then they would be distributed in the school or other schools in the capital.

“No exact number of the Hodeidah IDPs has been yet available, as many families are still arriving,” he said.

Anwar Mohammed Abkar, his wife and their four children managed to flee from al-Manzar village three days ago. It took them two days of walking into Hodeidah city, where they stayed for one day, and on Saturday they arrived in Sanaa.

“First, we moved to an urban area in the eastern edge of Hodeidah city, where we stayed for one day and the authorities there (rebels) told us we should leave because the Saudi-led coalition could wage airstrikes on this area or possibly launch a ground attack,” Abkar said. Xinhua

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