The conflict-driven food crisis in Yemen could become a full-blown famine this year, the UN’s humanitarian chief has warned. Two million people need emergency food aid to survive and child malnutrition has risen 63% in a year, Stephen O’Brien told the UN Security Council.
A child under five dies every 10 minutes of preventable causes, he said. Severe poverty, war damage, and a naval embargo by the Saudi-led coalition have all damaged food security.
About 14 million people are currently food insecure in Yemen, including 2.2m children who are acutely malnourished and nearly 500,000 suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
Mr O’Brien urged the Saudi-led coalition – which is backed by Western countries including the US and UK – to remove its no-fly zone and reopen Sanaa airport.
The blockade is having a “disproportionate impact” on civilians, he said, by stopping life-saving medication being flown in, and preventing 20,000 Yemenis accessing specialist medical treatment abroad(BBC,2017)