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Over 19 million Yemenis facing hunger amid dramatic food aid cuts: UN

A man holds his malnourished daughter at a malnutrition treatment ward of al-Sabeen hospital in Sana’a, Yemen, on October 27, 2020. (File photo by Reuters)

As the World Food Programme (WFP) announces further dramatic cuts to food aid in Yemen, a new UN report says more than 19 million Yemenis are now facing hunger, setting a new record since the beginning of the devastating Saudi-led war on Yemen in 2015.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday that funding cuts are hampering its ability to help people in need, including 160,000 Yemenis who are on the verge of famine.

“Five million people will now receive less than half of their daily requirement, and 8 million people will receive less than one-third of their daily requirement,” the OCHA said.

It explained that last December, the World Food Programme was forced to reduce food rations for 8 million people due to funding gaps and had to introduce another round of cuts last month.

The WFP announced on Sunday that it was forced into further dramatic cuts to food aid in Yemen as a result of not receiving enough funding, global economic conditions, and the continued knock-on effects of the war in Ukraine.

“Critical funding gaps, global inflation and the knock-on effects of the war in #Ukraine have forced @WFP in #Yemen to make some extremely tough decisions about the support we provide to our beneficiaries,” the organization said on Twitter.

The OCHA also said UNICEF may have to stop treatment for more than 50,000 severely malnourished children by July, adding that the UN body will suspend maternal and child health support which help up to 2.5 million children and 100,000 women by then.

The UN has described the situation in Yemen as the world’s “worst humanitarian crisis,” caused by seven years of war and a tight siege launched by Riyadh and its regional allies against the poor Middle Eastern country.

Since then, the Saudi-led coalition has repeatedly prevented the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid and fuel to Yemeni ports.

In recent months, the coalition has continued to cease Yemeni fuel tankers despite a UN-brokered ceasefire intended to end the Saudi-led war and blockade.

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