UN warns 12mn Yemenis may face worst famine in 100 years
The UN’s food agency has urged Saudi Arabia and its allies to stop their devastating war on Yemen, saying the conflict has put millions of Yemeni people on the brink of the worst famine in 100 years.
Two in five of the Yemeni population, around 12 million people, are expected to face the worst famine in 100 years in coming months due to the escalating war and a deepening economic crisis, the World Food Program (WFP) said Monday.
As the war rages, especially around the major port city of Hudaydah, and the economic situation deteriorates, the WFP said it feared millions struggling to make ends meet in the poorest Arab country would succumb to severe hunger and disease.
“If this situation persists, we could see an additional 3.5 million severely insecure Yemenis… who urgently require regular food assistance to prevent them from slipping into famine-like conditions,” WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel noted.
He also said that the WFP is scaling up its emergency food and nutrition aid to reach 8 million Yemenis every month.
Verhoosel regretted that the Saudi-led coalition’s siege on Yemen, particularly its Hudaydah port, is preventing WFP workers from reaching its 51,000 tons of wheat stocks at the Red Sea Mills facility. The WFP official says the stocks are enough to feed 3.7 million people in northern and central Yemen for one month.
Yemen traditionally imports 90 percent of its food.
Over the past few months, Hudaydah, through which flows almost 80 percent of Yemen’s imports, has witnessed deadly ground and aerial attacks by the Riyadh regime and its allies.
Backed by Saudi airstrikes, Emirati forces and elements loyal to former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi launched the Hudaydah offensive on June 13 despite international warnings that it would compound the impoverished nation’s humanitarian crisis.
Saudi Arabia claims that the Houthi Ansarullah movement is using Hudaydah for weapons delivery, an allegation rejected by the fighters.
Riyadh and its allies launched a brutal war, code-named Operation Decisive Storm, against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and crush the Houthis.