LONDON, April 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - With Yemen
close to "breaking point" and nine million people on the brink
of starvation, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on
Wednesday said it was scaling up its food aid to tackle one of
the world's worst hunger crises.
More than two years of civil war have cut food deliveries by
more than half and pushed the Arabian Peninsula's poorest
country to the edge of famine. The United Nations says nearly
3.3 million people, including 2.1 million children, are acutely
"The situation is getting close to a breaking point in Yemen
with unprecedented levels of hunger and food insecurity.
Millions of people can no longer survive without urgent food
assistance," said Stephen Anderson, WFP's country director in
Yemen, in a statement.
"We are in a race against time to save lives and prevent a
full-scale famine unfolding in the country, but we urgently need
resources to do this."
WFP said the new emergency operation will cost up to $1.2
billion to feed starving Yemenis for one year.
During the next two months, the agency aims to reach almost
7 million people facing hunger, prioritising the regions of
Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahj, Abyan and Sa'ada which are quickly sinking
into famine-like conditions, WFP said.
Yemen has historically imported up to 90 percent of its
food, mostly through the strategic Red Sea port of Hodeidah. But
cranes there have been destroyed by airstrikes, forcing dozens
of ships to line up offshore because they cannot be unloaded.
The conflict pits the armed Houthi group against the
government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, backed by a
Saudi-led Arab alliance. More than 10,000 people have been
killed by coalition air strikes and fighting on the ground.
Earlier the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and
international sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, urged the coalition to
lift the aerial and naval blockade imposed on Yemen since 2015
which, he said, has led to the "humanitarian catastrophe".
"The unwarranted restrictions on the flow of commercial and
humanitarian goods and services into Yemen ... are paralysing a
nation that for far too long has been a victim of war," Jazairy
said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The blockade involves grave breaches of the most basic
norms of human rights law, as well as of the law of armed
conflict, which cannot be left unanswered," he added.
More than 21 million people, or around 80 percent of Yemen's
population, are in need of humanitarian aid, the United Nations
(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Katie Nguyen.
Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm
of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts,
global land and property rights, modern slavery and human
trafficking, women's rights, climate change and resilience.
Visit news.trust.org to see more stories)