Yemen could be just three months away from facing the world’s worst famine in 100 years if Saudi-led airstrikes continue, the UN cautioned this weekend.
Now in its third year of civil war since Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, seized much of the country, 12 to 13 million Yemeni civilians are at risk of starvation, reported the Guardian.
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“I think many of us felt as we went into the 21st century that it was unthinkable that we could see a famine like we saw in Ethiopia, that we saw in Bengal, that we saw in parts of the Soviet Union — that was just unacceptable,” said Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen. “Many of us had the confidence that would never happen again and yet the reality is that in Yemen that is precisely what we are looking at.”
Thousands of civilians have been caught in the middle of the conflict, “trapped by minefields and barrages of mortars and airstrikes,” noted the report. To date more than 10,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced.
“There’s no question we should be ashamed, and we should, every day that we wake up, renew our commitment to do everything possible to help the people that are suffering and end the conflict,” Grande stated on Sunday.
Grande’s remarks were made as part of a larger condemnation of an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting Yemen’s Shia rebels. The strike killed at least 15 people outside of Hodeidah.
As a port city that provides needed supplies and humanitarian aid, Hodeidah has become a frequent center of conflict, noted the report, with both sides struggling to take control.
In the meantime, the battle over the coast port also threatens to throw Yemen into outright famine, with the country’s currency having recently collapsed and food prices doubling in the last month.