SANA’A (Dispatches) – The UN World Food Program (WFP) on Sunday warned of rising poverty among Yemeni families amid continued fighting across the war-torn country.
“The currency depreciation and rising food prices have pushed many in Yemen into extreme poverty,” WFP said in a statement.
As a result, “hunger is rising, leaving many dependent on food assistance”, it added.
The humanitarian situation in Yemen is aggravated by the depreciation of the local currency, which reached more than 1,200 riyals against the U.S. dollar in 2022.
Before the outbreak of the Saudi-led war in 2015, the dollar price was 215 Yemeni riyals in the local market.
The UN Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned last week that “11 million people [in Yemen] will end up closer to starvation” due to the shortage of funding for the life-saving activities in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies, backed by the United States and European powers, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah resistance movement.
The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases there.
In a latest development, four high-ranking commanders of militiamen loyal to Yemen’s former Saudi-backed former government have reportedly defected and joined the Yemeni army and their allied Popular Committees, which continue to make decisive gains in the battle against the Riyadh-led aggression.
Officials from Yemen’s National Salvation Government received the quartet, who fled from loyalists to ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and joined the ranks of the Yemeni army under a reconciliation agreement, during a ceremony in the capital Sana’a, according to Yemen Press Agency (YPA).
Separately, Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported more air attacks on the war-torn country on Saturday evening, saying Saudi jets repeatedly bombarded different sites in the county’s northern provinces of Hajjah and Sa’ada.
Fighter jets from the Royal Saudi Air Force launched 16 airstrikes on the Harad district in Hajjah province, as well as four raids on the Razih and Kitaf wa al-Boqe’e districts in the mountainous Sa’ada province.
There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage caused.
Al-Qaeda Terrorists Abduct 5 UN Workers
Yemeni officials said on Saturday that suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists have abducted five UN workers in southern Yemen.
The officials said the workers were abducted in the southern province of Abyan late Friday and taken to an unknown location. They include four Yemenis and a foreigner, they said.
In response to a question about the abduction, United Nations UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said “we are aware of this case but for obvious reasons we are not commenting.” He did not elaborate.
Tribal leaders said they were negotiating with the abductors to secure the workers’ release. They said the abductors demanded a ransom and the release of some militants imprisoned by the internationally recognized government.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media and the tribal leaders did so for fear of reprisals.
Abductions are frequent in Yemen, an impoverished nation where armed tribesmen and Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists take hostages to swap for prisoners or cash.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, taking advantage of the insecurity caused after the Saudi-led attacks in the country, has long been considered the global network’s most dangerous branch.