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World Famine could become a "reality" in Yemen, according to the UN

23:30  02 march  2021
23:30  02 march  2021 Source:   lepoint.fr

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  La famine pourrait devenir une © Provided by Le Point

L Famine could become a "reality" in Yemen in 2021, UN warned on Tuesday. the day after a donor conference that raised barely half the funds needed to prevent a humanitarian disaster in this war-torn country.

The UN target was to raise $ 3.85 billion but only $ 1.7 billion was pledged by hundreds of governments and individual donors.

At war since 2014, Yemen is only "one step" away from a major famine, the head of United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Achim told AFP Steiner .

"The prospect of even more Yemenis going hungry has just increased exponentially," he added.

A "critical point" could be reached in the "next weeks". "This is why we are so worried (...) a major famine could really become a reality in 2021."

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Alarm bell

The conflict, which pits Iranian-backed Houthi rebels against loyalist forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, has claimed tens of thousands of lives, according to NGOs and resulted in the worst current humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the UN.

The fighting continues, with since February 8 a new insurgent offensive on Marib, the last loyalist stronghold in the North, which has resulted in the flight of hundreds of families.

For an inhabitant of the rebel-controlled capital Sanaa, only the end of the war could save the country. "All Yemenis want the war to end as soon as possible so that we don't need any more help," he told AFP.

Millions of Yemenis are on the verge of starvation and NGOs have continued to sound the alarm bells. More than two-thirds of the population, or about 20 million people, depend on humanitarian aid, already reduced in 2020 in the face of the Covid-19

Over 60 fighters killed in clashes in Yemen's Marib

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pandemic According to the latest UN figures, more than half of the population will face hunger this year and nearly 50,000 are in near starvation conditions.

The World Food Program (WFP) has warned that 400,000 children under five could die of acute malnutrition in 2021 due to lack of urgent treatment.

"Question of life and death"

According to Mr. Steiner, the "immediate consequences" of the drop in aid will be devastating. "UN agencies and international NGOs must reduce their support for Yemen at the worst time of the crisis."

"Rations must be reduced, food products can no longer be provided while health equipment and basic drugs can for the most part no longer be imported."

"With the promises of (Monday), we may have gained a few more months but the prospect of a drastic reduction in the food supply is imminent," laments Mr. Steiner. "It is a matter of life and death for many Yemenis."

In this country, already the poorest in the Arabian Peninsula before the war, schools, factories, hospitals and businesses have been destroyed or closed. A quarter of the working population is unemployed and cannot provide for their household.

According to UNDP, Yemen faces the world's worst development crisis after losing more than two decades of progress.

"There is an entire generation of boys and girls now growing up without the most basic thing we can provide them in the 21st century, education," laments Mr Steiner.

02/03/2021 20:01:30 - Dubai (AFP) - © 2021 AFP

20 migrants dead after thrown into sea off Djibouti: IOM .
At least 20 people drowned after smugglers threw dozens of migrants overboard during a crossing between Djibouti and Yemen, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Thursday. Survivors told the IOM that at least 200 migrants, including children, were packed aboard the vessel when it left Oulebi in Djibouti in the early hours of Wednesday for Yemen across the Gulf of Aden. About thirty minutes into the voyage, the smugglers panicked about the number of people onboard and threw 80 into the sea before turning the vessel back toward land, said Yvonne Ndege, IOM regional spokesperson for the East and Horn of Africa.

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