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7 million people face starvation in conflict-ridden Yemen: UN

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Yemeni girl, who suffers from chronic malnutrition, is fed by her mother at a hospital in Yemen’s Sa’ada Province on October 9, 2016. (Photo by AP)

The United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Yemen has warned of a deepening food crisis in the country, which is reeling from a Saudi military aggression, saying almost a quarter of the country’s 27 million population are facing starvation.

"Seven million Yemenis do not know where their next meal will come from and are ever closer to starvation,” Jamie McGoldrick said in a statement released on Tuesday.

He also estimated that more than 17 million Yemenis are not able to adequately feed themselves and thus forced to skip meals while “women and girls eat the least and last.”

The UN official further voiced concern about rising food prices, food shortages, disruptions to agricultural production, and lowering purchasing power.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick gives a press conference in the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a on January 16, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

“Given that the country is 80-90 percent dependent on imported food staples; I am compelled to raise the alarm. If left unabated, these factors combined could accelerate the onset of famine,” he said.

Elsewhere in his statement, McGoldrick expressed deep worries over the escalation of conflict in the western coast of Yemen, saying the fighting is restricting the flow of life-saving commodities into Hudaydah Port.

The airstrikes conducted by Saudi fighter jets have destroyed critical roads and bridges across Hudaydah Province.

On Monday, the UN International Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned that 462,000 children were suffering from acute malnutrition in Yemen.

Earlier this month, the UN appealed for $2.1 billion to provide food and other life-saving aid for some 12 million Yemenis expected to need assistance this year.

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Three UN agencies further said in a joint statement that the number of food insecure people in Yemen had risen by three million during the past seven months, reaching an estimated 17.1 million people.

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Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in a bid to reinstall the country’s former government and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The Houthis and the Yemeni army have been defending Yemen against the Saudi offensive.

The Saudi military aggression has claimed the lives of over 11,400 Yemenis, including women and children, according to the latest tally by a Yemeni monitoring group.

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