UN says Yemen on brink of famine

UN World Food Programme (WFP) warns famine in war-torn Yemen

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Houthi militants gather on the rubble of the offices of the education ministry's workers union, destroyed by Saudi-led air strikes, in Yemen's northwestern city of Amran August 19

Updated Aug 21, 2015

The United Nation’s (UN) World Food Programme (WFP) has warned a famine in war-torn Yemen. Wrtharin Cousin, the WFP's executive director said on Wednesday that food shortage, lack of fresh water, and low fuel stocks have open way to a “perfect storm” for the Yemeni people.

Around 13 million people are in urgent need aid in Yemen, the organisation estimates.

Aid agencies were unable to reach areas of need because of the ongoing violence,” Cousin, who was speaking after a three-day trip to Yemen, said.

The war in Yemen between Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government allied by the Saudi-led coalition which has left 80% of the country’s population in need of aid, according to UN.

Backed by the Saudi-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes since March, which pro-government forces have been battling for months to restore the exiled President Hadi back to power.

Cousin warned of "irreversible" damage unless food could reach the estimated 1.2 million children suffering from malnutrition all over the country, affirming that Yemen is one step away from famine.

Last month, government forces retook Aden from the Houthis in a major setback for the rebels. Later they captured Abyan province on August 11.

UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien, who recently returned from Yemen, told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that "the scale of human suffering is almost incomprehensible United Nations declared the situation in Yemen in the same category as South Sudan, Syria and Iraq, raising it to be on the highest level of a humanitarian crisis.

At least, 2,000 civilians have died and at least 1.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes, since the coalition began its bombing campaign in support of the exiled government last March.



TRTWorld and agencies