Saudi Arabian-led airstrikes are exacerbating an already desperate situation in which 18 million people don't know where their next meal will come from, and 8 million are at risk are of starving to death, the World Food Programme said in a report Monday.
The Yemen civil war, now in its fourth year, has shifted to the port of Hodeidah -- the entry point for much of the food and relief aid. If the fighting doesn't stop, the WFP said, Yemen could see the "worst famine in the world in 100 years," humanitarian coordinator for the United Nations Lisa Grande told BBC News.
"Since June, some 570,000 households have had to flee their home from fighting in Hodeidah, while the Yemni riyal has undergone an alarming depreciation, and the cost of basic food items has gone up by a third since this time last year," WFP Yemen country director Stephen Anderson told CNN.
Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of forces against the Houthis, Shiite rebels backed by Iran, and they have bombarded parts of Yemen with airstrikes over the last three years.
If the situation persists, another 3.5 million Yemenis could be food insecure, bringing the total at risk of dying to nearly 12 million, WFP said.
"Civilians in Yemen are not starving, they are being starved," Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in a statement. "Let it be known that the worst famine on our watch is wholly man-made by Yemen's local conflict parties and their international sponsors.
"The way the war is waged has sytematically choked civilians by making less food available and affordable to millions of people."
A Saudi-led airstrike hit a bus Sunday, killing more than a dozen people in the Hodeidah area, including many members of the same family.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright © UPI, 2019. All Rights Reserved.