January 24, 2021

The UN warns that almost half of the Yemeni population is at risk of famine

The UN warns that almost half of the Yemeni population is at risk of famine



The UN warned today that half of the population of Yemen could be affected by a famine and stressed that the situation in the country is "much more serious" than had been alerted last September.

"On September 21, I warned that we were losing the fight against famine, and since then it has worsened," United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told a Security Council meeting today.

The UN representative said that the report that was presented last month, which warned that a total of 11 million people are in a situation of severe food insecurity, was "wrong".

"Our revised assessment (…) has pointed out that the total number of people facing pre-hunger conditions, which means they are completely dependent on humanitarian aid, could soon reach 14 million people, half of whom the population of the country, "Lowcock said.

The UN representative stressed that currently "there is a clear danger that a huge imminent famine", which he said would be much greater than any of the professionals in humanitarian aid "have seen in his life."

In particular, he pointed out that one of the causes of the worsening situation in Yemen, described as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, is the continuous clashes in the Al Hudeida region, a key port for the entry of food and other basic products into Yemen. .

Around 570,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the area since mid-June, Lowcock said, accusing the warring parties of violating international humanitarian law more than 5,000 times since late May.

"With the absence of a cessation of hostilities, especially in Al Hudeida, (…) humanitarian aid efforts will be simply overcome," he said. "The time has come," he added, "for all parties to heed the warnings."

The countries of the UN Security Council called for a political solution to the warring parties, while underlining the urgency of injecting foreign currency into the country to try to increase Yemen's import capacity and thus continue to assist civilians.

"Since 2015, Yemen's GDP has contracted by 50 percent and 600,000 people have lost their jobs," Lowcock said at the meeting to reflect the poor state of the country's economy.

In addition, the reopening of commercial ports was demanded and the access of humanitarian aid to civilians was facilitated, while insisting on the need for a political solution to the conflict and respect for international humanitarian laws.

The armed conflict in Yemen began in 2014, when the Shiite Houthi rebels occupied Sana'a and other provinces, and it intensified in 2015 with the intervention of the military coalition composed of Sunni countries and led by Saudi Arabia in favor of forces loyal to President Abdo Rabu Mansur Hadi.

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