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Sanaa, Yemen – The U.N. spokesman says tens of thousands of residents have fled the fighting along Yemen’s western coastline where Yemeni fighters backed by a Saudi-led coalition are engaged in fierce battles with Iranian-backed Houthis rebels.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the U.N. Secretary-General, told reporters on Monday that about 5,200 families, or around 26,000 people, have fled the fighting and sought safety within their own districts or in other areas in Hodeida governorate.

“The number is expected to increase as hostilities continue,” he said.

Dujarric added that U.N. Special Envoy in Yemen Martin Griffiths will be giving a briefing to the Security Council from Sanaa.

The campaign to seize control of Hodeida threatens to worsen Yemen’s humanitarian situation, as Hodeida’s port is the country’s main entry point for most humanitarian aid.

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