UN: 8.4 million war-hit Yemenis need urgent food aid
The United Nations humanitarian chief says the war on Yemen has left as many as 8.4 million people in the Arab world’s already poorest nation in need of urgent food aid.
In all, 75 percent of Yemen’s 22-million-strong population needed some sort of assistance, said the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock.
Remarking in an analysis obtained by the Associated Press (AP) on Monday, he said three million Yemenis were malnourished, including 1.1 million pregnant women, “and more than 400,000 severely acutely malnourished children.”
Humanitarian officials “estimate that 3.5 million to four million more people could become severely food insecure in the months ahead,” the report noted.
If current trends continued, food needs could increase “by as much as 62 percent,” it said.
The UN Security Council is to address the report on Tuesday.
According to AP, more than 10,000 people have died since Saudi Arabia led many of its allies into the war on Yemen to reinstall the country’s former Riyadh-allied officials. Yemen’s Health Ministry, however, puts the number at above 15,000.
The United States, and major European countries, including the UK and France, provide the war with various types of support, most importantly unstinting arms sales.
Lowcock urged easier access for aid operations and an expansion of commercial imports.
The Saudi-led coalition enforces an all-out embargo on Yemen. It claims the siege helps stem arms transfers to the country’s Army and popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which is defending the country against the invaders.
Since June, the coalition has been engaged in a military operation to seize al-Hudaydah, Yemen’s most vital port.
Back in September, the humanitarian chief said Yemen was being tipped over the edge of famine.
“We may now be approaching a tipping point, beyond which it will be impossible to prevent massive loss of life as a result of widespread famine across the country,” he said. “We are already seeing pockets of famine-like conditions, including cases where people are eating leaves,” Lowcock added.
Yemen’s economy has contracted 50 percent since the start of the war, said the official.