UN States 16 Million Yemenis Face Famine if no Action is Taken

Published December 10th, 2018 - 02:00 GMT
Yemeni workers unload Emirati medical aid boxes in Aden. (AFP)
Yemeni workers unload Emirati medical aid boxes in Aden. (AFP)

The civil war in Yemen has fueled the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations, and aid is needed to prevent human catastrophe.

Nearly 16 million people in the country have food insecurity ranging from crisis to catastrophe levels, including 10.8 million at crisis levels, 5 million at emergency levels, and 65,000 people at catastrophe levels, according to an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, or IPC, report Saturday. Without humanitarian aid, more than 20 million people would have these food insecurities and the catastrophe level would more than triple, the report said.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.N. Children's Fund, the World Food Programme and humanitarian partners released the report.

"What the IPC tells us is alarming," Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande said. "65,000 people are barely surviving right now and at least a quarter of a million people are facing a bleak year. Any change in their circumstances, including any disruption in their ability to access food on a regular basis will bring them to the brink of death."

"In a war waged by adults, it is the country's children who suffer first and suffer most," UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore added. "Thousands of Yemeni children could die from severe malnutrition if conditions, including conflict and economic crisis, do not improve soon."

Across Yemen, 1.8 million children are acutely malnourished, which includes nearly 400,000 children suffering severe acute malnutrition, the report said.

"This report is an alarm bell that shows hunger is rising and we need a massive increase in aid and sustained access to all areas in Yemen in order to rescue millions of Yemenis," WFP Executive Director David Beasley said. "If we don't, we will lose an entire generation of children to hunger."

The nation's civil war has caused people to lose their homes and jobs amid an ongoing rise in the price of basic goods. It has created an environment in which many Yemenis have difficulty accessing food and basic services, the report said.

Public services have also eroded, making millions of Yemenis vulnerable. Yemenis in areas where there is active conflict, internally displaced people, marginalized groups, and landless wage laborers are especially hard hit.

The civil war has limited access to clean water and led to cholera outbreak threatening millions of people.

"Prior to the escalation of violence, 73 percent of the population relied on agriculture and fisheries for their livelihoods," FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said. "FAO is not only working to enable families to produce food for themselves and their communities when markets are disrupted, but also to safeguard, protect and restore Yemen's agriculture sector. For example, more than 1 million animals have been vaccinated and treated for pests and diseases. However, more funds are needed to support millions of Yemeni family farmers."

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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