SANA’A (Dispatches) – Ending the ongoing famine in Yemen, struck with Saudi-led aggression, is an “overarching humanitarian priority” amid a litany of crises, the UN’s outgoing special envoy for the country said.
Martin Griffiths told the UN Security Council on Monday that roughly two-thirds of the war-ravaged country’s population – about 20 million people – rely on humanitarian aid for their day-to-day needs.
Roughly five million people “are one step away from succumbing to famine and the diseases that go with it”, he warned.
An additional 10 million people “are right behind them”, added Griffiths.
“Famine isn’t just a food problem. It’s a symptom of a much deeper collapse. In many ways, it is all of Yemen’s problems rolled into one, and it demands a comprehensive response,” he said.
Much of the country’s starvation is tied to the extreme depreciation of Yemen’s national currency and the collapse of the economy, with GDP plummeting 40 percent since 2015 when the Saudi regime and its allies launched a devastating war, with the goal of bringing the government of Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.
An all-out blockade was also imposed on Yemen since the onset of the bloody war, pushing Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, including by hampering access to aid.
The Saudi-led military aggression has left tens of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions of people. It also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases across the country.
Khaled Mohamed Khiari, assistant UN secretary-general for the Middle East, raised further alarm over widespread fuel shortages that are worsening in the country.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said one Yemeni dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes, including malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases, amid a Saudi-led war is in full swing.
“In Yemen, one child dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes, including malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases,” the organization’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore told a UN Security Council meeting on Monday.
“The war in Yemen, now in its seventh year, has created the largest humanitarian crisis in the world – one made worse by the public health and socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fore said in corroboration of the situation that has afflicted the country.